The Bible says the tongue is a very powerful thing and using it carelessly will lead to devastating results.
As such, we need to watch what goes out of our lips when we speak.
Proverbs 18:21 tells us a sobering truth about our tongues:
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
We can speak life and blessing, or we can speak death and cursing. No matter what we speak, our words will surely bear fruit, and we will be the ones who will ultimately partake of that fruit.
Some might argue that others are the ones affected by our words, not us. Well, that's wrong. We are affected too. In fact, we are the ones who are affected the most.
In this article we'll take a look at some of the dangers of having a careless tongue. We'll take a closer look at how our words affect us, not just the people who hear them or the people to whom they are directed towards.
We must be careful with our words, and this article hopes to help all of us do that.
Dangers of a careless tongue
1) We'll be judged by God for every careless word we say
We may not think much about the words we speak, but the Lord Jesus Himself warned us about speaking carelessly as the words we say will be used against us. He said in Matthew 12:36-37,
"But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
2) Our words can hurt, even kill
We're familiar with the saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me," but that is not true at all.
The words we say can hurt people. And yes, our words can do more than just break bones -- they can break hearts and break lives.
Proverbs 12:17-18 tells us,
"He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit. There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health."
Sharp, hurtful words can pierce through us like a sword. They can discourage us, cause us to lose hope, even cause us to desire death and commit suicide.
For example, bullying, which can be done through abusive language, is significantly linked to suicide.
Bullyingstatistics.org states that according to a Yale University study, bullying victims are up to 9 times more likely to commit suicide than those who are not being bullied. A study in Britain also found that at least half of all suicide attempts among youth are related to bullying.
These statistics tell us that hurtful words are very dangerous -- and we're not talking about libel and other such things yet.
3) We participate in the devil's work
We're Christians alright, but when we become careless with our lips, we actually risk ourselves by participating in the devil's work.
Don't believe that? Consider the Pharisees who, despite their knowledge of Scripture and reputation as religious leaders among people, received a painful rebuke from Jesus' very lips:
"You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it." (John 8:44)
These people refuse to believe the truth about God and Jesus Christ, and so they spread lies accusing Him of blasphemy and other things.
As Christians, every time we speak a lie or falsely accuse another, we participate in the devil's work. Every time we slander or malign others we take part in the devil's agenda.
And every time we take part in the devil's agenda and defend ourselves ("I'm a God-fearing Christian!"), we spread even more lies and go deeper into the devil's work.
Friends, we've got to watch what comes out of our lips and examine ourselves if we're in a right standing with God.
We've got to be careful with our tongues. Let's follow what James 3:9-12 has to say:
"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."