"For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body."-James 3:2
There is this song by Sarah Bareilles that has been out for quite some time, and it's honestly one of my favorite songs. She's got a lovely singing voice and it's up-beat and happy. The name of the song is "Brave". Basically in this song she is singing about how important it is to not worry about how people will judge you, but that you should just say whatever is on your mind, and "just let the words fall out." In other words, don't worry about what others think. Voice your opinions and speak up for yourself. While this is important, it reminds me of what the world thinks is brave and what God thinks is brave.
Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not condemning the song or anyone who listens to it, nor am I saying that we shouldn't stand up for ourselves or stand up for the truth. But the world tends to think that it's more honorable for someone to always speak their mind and to never hold back on telling someone what they think. The tongue is a powerful thing. In Genesis 11, we read about the Tower of Babble, and how the men were trying to build a tower that reached up to the heavens. In verses 6-7 it says, "And the Lord said, 'Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing they propose to do will now be impossible for them. (7) Come, let us go down there and confuse their language, so that they may not understand each other's speech.'" And then in James 3:6 says, "And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell." Our tongues are powerful things, and if we don't control what we say, and if we aren't careful about what information we give others, we can cause some serious damage. I mean, if God had to confuse the language of everyone on the planet because they would be able to do too much, then what does that say about the tongue?
The tongue itself is not a bad thing. We have to communicate in order to evangelize. But our tongues were given to us by God. What are we going to use them for? Are we going to use them to gossip or lie? Are we going to use our tongues to do nothing but talk about others, or to insult? Or are we going to use our tongues to uplift and encourage others? Today I would like to encourage each of you to remember that yes, it feels really good to not say that little nugget of gossip to that group of friends, but to only speak good to others. The world thinks that being harsh is courageous. But what's harder, really? Speaking your mind, or holding your tongue?