Tame the Tongue
James 3:7-8 NKJV
Genesis 3:16 NKJV
Genesis 3:17-18 NKJV
James made quite a statement over 2000 years ago when he said in James 3:7-8, “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.”
I mean, my first thought is how could he have known in the first century that every beast and bird and creature of the sea had been tamed by mankind? Realistically, James knew what he knew from his current surroundings. They didn’t have television or the internet. There was no Animal Planet.
My only thought is James could have been referencing the animals in the Garden of Eden. For sure, all of the animals were in the garden and all were tamed by Adam and Eve. So, he must have been referencing the animals in the Garden of Eden.
If James was comparing taming the animals in the Garden of Eden and comparing those to the human tongue, he was certainly correct. We even see that in the garden.
In Genesis 3 the serpent tempted Eve convincing her if she ate of the fruit of good and evil she would be like God and she would know good and evil. That was the first recorded event where the tongue caused great harm on earth. As a matter of fact, the serpents wagging tongue caused great harm to Eve, and to Adam.
In Genesis 3:16, God said to Eve, ““I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your conception; In pain you shall bring forth children; Your desire shall be for your husband, And he shall rule over you.”
Because Eve listened to the wagging tongue of the serpent instead of listening to God, she was told she would have great pain in childbirth and her husband would rule over her.
But the problem was bigger than what happened to Eve. That’s because Adam listened to his wife and the serpent and he ate the forbidden fruit as well. Because Adam listened to the wagging tongue of the serpent as well and he ate the forbidden fruit, he was told in Genesis 3:17-19, “Cursed is the ground for your sake; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life. Both thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you, and you shall eat the herb of the field. In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.”
The wagging tongue of the serpent passed on misinformation to Eve and to Adam. To this day, one of the greatest problems mankind has with the tongue is gossip from misinformation. It’s been my experience that when someone engages in gossip, they have a psychological reason for doing so. More than half the time when I’ve known people who gossip it’s because they are insecure and afraid they don’t measure up. Without oversimplifying, it often comes about because they are jealous of the person they are speaking (or misspeaking) about. It took time, but once I figured out the root cause, it changed how I handle people who gossip. I came to realize that the wagging tongue really was caused by great pain they carry.
I’ve been a crazy pray-er all my life. My dad prayed about everything, and by the time I went to college I came to realize that prayer was a way of life. I’m not saying that I didn’t make mistakes…oh my, I did! But once I realized I’d made a mistake, I turned it over to God and I prayed about it.
I prayed for all of my children before they were conceived and born. I prayed about what kind of person God wanted them to be. I prayed about God’s plan for their lives. I prayed for their spouses and their future children.
When I realized that people who have a wagging tongue are in pain and hurting, I would pray for them.
It really was a game-changer.
I realized even though James was right that the tongue cannot be tamed, we can pray for healing for the person who is hurting!
In addition to praying for others who needed healing, I prayed for myself. I asked God to help me when I was hurting and lashing out at others. I knew I was no different from others who had a wagging tongue.
Sometimes recognizing our own short-comings is difficult and painful, but it’s a necessary part of growth. We grow as we surrender to God and ask for healing.
Within the last two years (after I retired) I realized that slowing down my pace helps me to hear God. Sitting with God in silence help me to connect to the source. When we listen and connect, we heal.
The tongue will always be part of us, but when we calm our soul we become aware of the power of God in us.
Today’s Spiritual Practice is: Listen and Connect
Take time to sit quietly with God. Ask God to heal you.
In God, Deborah