Growing up in Sunday school, I remember the importance of being taught the power of our tongue. I can recall my children’s pastor telling us that our tongue is the most powerful weapon we can wield. As an 8 year old the weight of that meaning had very little impact on me. I did not fully grasp the concept of what that truly meant until my adulthood, and quite truthfully I feel like I have learned the most within the past few months.
At the beginning of this year I became a second grade teacher! I was (and still am) ecstatic to get into the classroom and take part in raising the next generation to be the best they can be. However, after being around so many students and helping them deal with their challenges, the power of our tongue has never been presented to me in a more “aha” way before. As a teacher, we always remind our classes to use the acronym THINK when deciding if they should say something. (Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it kind?) These pose as such simple questions and though they are on an elementary level, I feel like we can relate to these questions from a Christian standpoint.
29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.
We can see here in Ephesians the power the tongue yields and what we say actually has meaning and power. As Henry Ford (The founder of The Ford Motor Company) famously said, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t – You’re right.” When we have thoughts in our head, and we then in turn speak them, we give the thoughts meaning and power. Whether we use our words for good or evil is up to us, but regardless, it is so important to remember the power we hold with our tongues.
In James 3:1-11 we see how small but important and powerful the tongue is:
3 Now when we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide the whole animal. 4 And consider ships: Though very large and driven by fierce winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things.
The words we speak have an impact whether we like it or not. God has given us the gift of the tongue and speech and while we generally take it for granted, we need to remember that we have been blessed with this gift and we can either use it for building up or for tearing down. It is such a small thing that can make a large impact as we see all throughout the scripture and in our day to day lives. I challenge you today to speak life and to use your tongue and words to build up and edify, and not to tear down!