Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.
By David Wilkerson
"But no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison" (James 3:8).
In this verse from his epistle, James is talking about the tongues of believers. He is issuing a call to the church to gain control of their tongues — before they are destroyed by them!
How serious is this matter of taming the tongue, you ask? Can an "unruly tongue" really be that sinful?
Indeed, many Christians right now are waging intense spiritual warfare against powerful habits such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco, lust. They can't imagine an unruly tongue as being a very serious sin. I can almost hear the reaction of the believer who is engaged in a titanic struggle with some great temptation:
"Hey, pastor — you've got to be kidding! I'm fighting the battle of my life, trying to get victory over a demonic stronghold, and you're talking about little words. How can you compare a loose tongue to the kind of battle I'm engaged in?"
Dear saint, I tell you, an untamed tongue is the world's deadliest weapon! An unsanctified, loose tongue is worse than drug or alcohol abuse — it is worse than any sin of the flesh! The Bible calls the tongue a world of iniquity, a defiler of multitudes, a taste of hell on earth! (See James 3:6.)
Let me show you from God's Word how dangerous and damning an unruly tongue is:
A loose tongue renders all religion absolutely worthless! It can make your every spiritual activity totally useless in God's eyes: "If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless." (James 1:26).
James is speaking here of those "among you” — that is, in the church. These aren't drug addicts or street people — they are part of the body of Christ who appear pious and spiritual. They are active in the work of the Lord. But their tongues are unbridled, out of control! James is zeroing in on those who seem to be holy, kind, gentle, loving — yet who move about the church or on their job or in their family with acid tongues, always listening to and telling morsels of gossip. They think nothing of murmuring and complaining. God says their religion — all their show of spirituality — is in vain. It's valueless, worthless!