The uncontrollable tongue!
In Matthew 23: 3. Jesus told His hearers how to determine that which is righteous, “So you must be careful to do everything they [scribes and Pharisees] tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.” Here we are told that the word of God is paramount but not always obeyed.
In Matthew 15: 20. we are told, “You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits,"
Therefore, the goodness or otherwise of someone is better known by that which they do and how they behave, as opposed to that which they say. To further reinforce the Gospel narrative, James, Apostle and brother of the Lord who was an early leader of the Jerusalem Church of the Apostolic Age - to which Paul was also affiliated - and who died in martyrdom in 62 or 69 AD wrote in his letter, (James 3:7-9) to those generally considered to be Jewish Christians who were dispersed outside Palestine, the following warning: “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.…”
Every hour of every day we see and hear in the media, 'experts' sending words into battle and putting forth their opinions with a conviction which belies the scarcity of accurate, supporting data. To confuse the hearer, doubtful situational facts are mixed with unenlightened opinion and the resulting stream of words issuing from uncontrolled tongues is further strengthened by the use of a demonstratively, fervent manner, intended to convince the listener as to the good intentions and understanding of the speaker.
Simply turn off the sound, look at the mouth and then watch the uncontrolled tongue at work.
Perhaps the most effective tool used is when a vestige of some profound truth is inserted into their outpourings in an attempt to make the views expressed more credible. This technique is used not only by politicians, advertisers and lawyers but by ordinary folk as well in order to foist their opinions on others.
With the best will in the world the opinions put forth in the media invariably carry a self-interest bias and Christians must make every attempt to sort the proffered wheat from the chaff.
“Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?" (James 3:11) .Here James is asserting that all human beings - including Christians - are not naturally in control of the tongue. If we were, how would it be possible for us to allow our tongues to both praise God and to belittle people who are created in God's image?
Asking God's help to enable us to have only blessings for both God and man to come from our mouths is the first step towards controlling the tongue which in James 3: 6. we are told, “Is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one's life on fire and is itself set on fire by hell.”
Think about it. Very few evils in the world are carried out that have not first been discussed and planned using the tongue to give voice to them and this applies whether it's those of an individual or a world power.
In Matthew's Gospel 10: 16. Christ tells those He is sending out into the world, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.”
That warning is as relevant to Christians today as it was when given to His Apostles over 2000 years ago.