Taming the tongue is a task that we often find hard to do, but it's not entirely impossible. If the Lord Jesus was able to control His tongue and avoid saying something that would mar His sinless perfection, then we can also count on Him to help us tame our tongues for His glory and our benefit.
To help all of us tame our tongues, here are some tips that the Bible gives us.
1. Recognise that our thoughts define what goes out of our mouths
Truthfully speaking, what is stored up in our hearts will always come out of our mouths. The Lord Jesus Himself said this in Luke 6:45:
"The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
Knowing this, friends, let's learn to purge ourselves of what is evil and wrong by filling ourselves with the goodness of God. Let's meditate on His Word, set our mind on things above where Christ is seated, and continually think of what is true, honourable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy (see Joshua 1:8; Colossians 3:2; Philippians 4:8).
2. Realise that every word we speak will be used against us
No, this is not a threat, or a common line spoken by policemen when they arrest someone. The Lord Jesus Himself said that every word we say will be judged, and they will either acquit us or condemn us. Here's what He said, according to Matthew 12:36-37:
"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
We should, then, choose to speak words that we will never regret. Once words are released from our lips, they are like bullets shot out from a gun – they will surely hit someone. Even if you could take them back and ask for forgiveness, harsh words will always hurt, both the person offended and God Himself (see Matthew 25:40, 45; Psalm 51:4).
3. A mouth redeemed by God shouldn't speak ungodly words
We have to remember, friends, that we are all bought with Christ's blood, and therefore we belong to Him. As God's children, redeemed from sin and created to do good works, it is not fitting for us to speak words that are contrary to our very identity in Christ.
James 3:10-12 reminds us that we shouldn't let our mouth speak praise to God first and then curse second:
"From the same mouth comes blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water."