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Sharpened Tongues Like A Serpent

Many years ago, a pastor kissed a woman who was not his wife. Immediately, he was convicted of his sin and apologized to her and her husband. Someone took this story and ran with it. Before the day was out, the entire small town of about 300 knew about it. Within the same week, before Sunday, the pastor, his wife, and five children had moved out of town and out of state. What had been a great ministry was suddenly destroyed, the church split and a second church started within months.

It is not surprising that the Scriptures have many warnings about the tongue. Proverbs 18:21 declares, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” James describes it vividly. He compares it to a fire, a world of iniquity, set on fire of hell, unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. (James 3:6-10). The Psalmist talks about evil men who “have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips.” (Psalm 140:3)

Getting saved does not cure our tongue. We must tame it by conscious effort in the power of the Spirit.

The dangers of the tongue as portrayed in Scripture:

Spreading tales – gossip

Proverbs 18:8 “The words of a talebearer are as wounds,”

Proverbs 26:20 “Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.”

Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.

Attacking publicly someone who has offended you instead of talking to that person.

Proverbs 25:9 “Debate thy cause with thy neighbor himself; and discover not a secret to another:”

The Danger of talking too much

Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

Proverbs 17:27, 28 “He that hath knowledge spareth his words:” “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.”

Warnings Given in Scripture:

1 Peter 3:10: “For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:”

Psalm 34:13 Keep thy tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile.

Proverbs 4:23-24 “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.”

In the qualifications for a deacon, he must not be doubletongued. (1 Timothy 3:8)

In the instructions for godly women, they must not be “false accusers.” (Titus 2:3).

Things God Hates

Proverbs 6:16-19 “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,  false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Please note that three of the seven things God hates relate to sins of the tongue.

 On the Positive Side

Proverbs 25:11: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

Proverbs 21:23: “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.”

Proverbs 12:25 “Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.”

Proverbs 15:23: “A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”

Colossians 3:17: “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

 Christians need to know how to control the tongue.

“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6). “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.” (Ephesians 4:29).

By God’s grace, we can achieve victory. Christians should always guard themselves against curse words, taking the name of the Lord in vain, filthy jokes, gossip, and the list goes on. Ask yourself, “Am I saying something that will edify or build up another person, or will it be an offense or a stumbling block?

Let God direct your speech.

About Dale B

I am a born-again Christian who loves to write and share the Good News about Jesus. Raised on a small Wisconsin farm and saved at age 12, I have been active in Christian service since that time. My many years as a pastor, accountant, and lay worker in the church have equipped me to help those in need. In retirement now in Texas, the Lord has led me to writing as a means of winning people to Christ and helping Christians grow in the Lord. By God’s grace I hope to be a blessing and encouragement to you.

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  1. Hello Dale,

    I truly enjoy all of your articles – so no surprise here with your current article. Great Word, and the climate and depth of the message will touch many.
    Thank you, again.
    God Bless~

  2. i also enjoy your articles.. can i share with chinese believers

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