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Taming The Tongue - Part 2

Taming The Tongue - Part 2
Blessing & Cursing With The Same Mouth

With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh. James 3:9-12 (NKJV)

There is a saying that comes to mind when I read these verses about the tongue in James 3:9-12.  It is a phrase that asks the question, Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?   And there's another popular phrase that says, He cusses like a drunken sailor.  Both aptly describe someone who speaks forth crude, vulgar, and improper things out of their mouth. 

James confronts this use of the tongue by saying, With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing.  My brethren, these things ought not to be so (vs. 9-10).  He then gives a perfect analogy for this not being correct among Christians when he says, Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening (v. 11)?

James is confronting the hypocrisy of the unfaithfulness of the tongue when it is used to praise God and then is used to curse man, who was made in the image of God.  As sad is it may sound, every believer is guilty of this at some point - even the very pastors that preach against this very thing from the pulpit. 

Also do not take to heart everything people say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you. For many times, also, your own heart has known That even you have cursed others. Ecclesiastes 7:21-22 (NKJV)

We can see throughout the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the most religious zealots, the Pharisees, often praised God and yet they were the ones who cursed Jesus, and even urged the Roman government to crucify Him.

It wasn't just the Pharisees either.  We can clearly see Jesus' own disciples doing this.  Peter was called "The Rock" by Christ, and it was Peter who answered Jesus' question, "Who do you say that I am?" with the answer, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16:16).  It was that same Peter who told Jesus, "Even if I have to die with You I will not deny You!" (Matt. 26:35).  But then we see Peter being confronted on being affiliated with Jesus a few verses later.

And a little later those who stood by came up and said to Peter, "Surely you also are one of them, for your speech betrays you." Then he began to curse and swear, saying, "I do not know the Man!" Immediately a rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, "Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." So he went out and wept bitterly. Matthew 26:73-75 (NKJV)

So, here is Jesus' disciple praising God in one moment and cursing at people the next - James tells us these things ought not be so.

But we must be clear here, the tongue is only going to reveal our heart - It is a built in tattle-teller and will share with others what is present in the heart - whether good or bad.   David knew this very well and sought God for help knowing God was the only way.   Listen to what he prayed as outlined in Psalm 141:3

Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalms 141:3 (NKJV)

David was also very aware of the danger brought upon him by his enemy's tongue.  David gave us a great example to follow as he sought the Lord in Prayer - asking God to defend him from the verbal attacks of those who sought to harm him by speaking evil (See Psalm 64 for David's prayer).   So we can see David prayed for both he and his enemy's tongue. We can learn a lot from David's prayer and perhaps we should go to Psalm 64 the next time we are the brunt of someone's gossip, hurtful words, and verbal attacks.

Hey Christian, don't ever underestimate the power of prayer.  God wants to deliver us from every iniquity we face and are tempted to partake in.  It is only by God's grace, and His power we can achieve His will (John 15:5).

STUDY QUESTION: What can we learn from James 3:9-12 with regards to the use of our tongue when praising God and cursing others?

PERSONAL INVENTORY: Do you find yourself tempted to curse others when you get frustrated at their hurtful, and inconsiderate actions?

APPLICATION: Seek the Lord when this temptation comes.  Cast down the thought to respond in an evil way acknowledging that it is an attack and temptation from the enemy to sin.  Now, pray for the person who has hurt you and ask God to expose their sin so they may see it clearly as He does.

Father, thank You for Your forgiveness of my sin.  Father, I am sorry for those times I freely chose to say unedifying things about those who offended me.  Help me to remember these principles written in this devotional when the enemy tempts me to speak forth evil things.  In Jesus' precious name, amen...

Be Blessed, Pastor Scott

Copyright ©2017 by Pastor Scott Wright.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Bible text from the New King James Version is not to be reproduced in copies or otherwise by any means except as permitted in writing by Thomas Nelson, Inc., Attn: Bible Rights and Permissions, P.O. Box 141000, Nashville, TN 37214-1000