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Give Grace to Those Who Hear

March 27, 2014 | by: Mike Law | 0 Comments

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There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).  Too often, I wonder if my words are more like sword thrusts than a healing balm.  Perhaps you feel that way too.  The tongue is incredibly challenging to tame, James 3:1-12 makes that clear.  James says some surprising things about the tongue, some things that make it seem almost like a hopeless cause to endeavor to tame the tongue.  For example in James 3:8, he says, “No human being can tame the tongue.”  Thanks for the encouragement James. I’ll get right to working on taming my tongue now.  Actually I should, and you should too. 

The tongue is a rudder that directs a ship (James 3:4).  It is a bit that guides a horse (James 3:3).  Surely the Lord means for James’ words about the tongue to encourage us to tame our tongue and not simply let it run wild. How else should we understand James’ lament in 3:9-10?  “With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”  If they ought not to be so, then we should through God’s gracious aid point our tongue in godly directions and say godly things.  It is a discipline of grace to speak godly words, and a discipline established by grace to speak godly words.

The fact that godly words have power should encourage us to speak words of grace too.  Consider Proverbs 12:25, “25Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.  Or Proverbs 16:20, “24Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.  Words have the power to heal when broken, make men glad when anxious, and soothe the soul when troubled.

Part of James’ encouragement may be for us to simply close our mouths more often, after all Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.  Wisdom will often be seen in silence, but all of life cannot be lived in silence, and so when we do speak, the truth of Ephesians 4:29 ought to guide our words.  There Paul says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). 

Proverbs 18:21, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.  Those who love death will eat the fruits of death, and it will be seen in their speech.  Those who love life will eat the fruits of life, and it will be seen in their speech.  I pray that our tongues will reveal that we’ve tasted eternal life.  Go and speak what is good for building up, fits the occasion, and give grace to those who hear.  They need it, and you need to do it to keep the ship of your life on the right course (James 3:4).

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