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Who Can Tame the Tongue?

June 1, 2015 • Rev. Jason Ruis

Scripture passage — James 3:1-12


“For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” 

Why have you given us a tongue that cannot be tamed, O Lord? Why have you given us a tongue with so much power? A tongue with the power to bless and the power to curse.

Where did this come from?  So many times have I found myself asking that question. Throughout my life I have experienced times of great growth in the Lord. I am excited to more fully rest in God’s grace. I am excited to have matured. Yet, my tongue reminds me otherwise. All of a sudden--out of nowhere--I find myself lashing out at my kids, lashing out at my wife, lashing out at a stranger in their car. I ask, “Where did this come from?”

The answer causes me to tremble. Where does it come from? It comes from my heart. From the overflow of my heart my tongue speaks! The anger that just poured out of my mouth is a reflection of the anger that still remains in my heart. The fire that hung on my breath originated deep within my soul.

What a wretched man I am! Who am I to come before a Holy God with a tainted and fiery heart? Who am I to stand before a righteous God, with anger burning within me? Who is this man who has followed you for so long, yet still has hatred in his heart?

Why have you given us a tongue that cannot be tamed? Why would you do that? Lord, please remove this burden from me. Please lift it from my back. I can’t carry it anymore.

In the midst of my tears and pain, I hear a whisper on the wind. I hear you say, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

Then I understand.

You have blessed us with heart and tongue, but they are corrupted by my sin. No human can tame the tongue, but you can, O Lord. You are all powerful. You are the almighty. You are the merciful and faithful God. I will never be able to tame my tongue, but you can, O Lord. I can’t do this on my own. I am completely dependent upon you for my sanctification. I am weak--so very weak. Yet, you Lord, are strong.

It was in my weakness, and my depravity, that you saved me. You lifted me up from the pit of death and placed me on the solid Rock. It was by Your grace that I was saved, not by anything that I could ever do.

My tongue reminds me of this each day. My tongue reminds me that I must never rely on my own power. My tongue reminds me of the weakness that is within me.

Yet, you are a mighty God. You are the God that freed Israel from the powerful Egyptians. You are the God who took on flesh and rescued us from our sin. You are the God who can free me from my tongue! May I praise you always!


Lord,Forgive me for using my words unkindly. Help me to think before I speak and grant me the grace to use my words to build up others. May I be ever mindful of the lordship you hold over every aspect of my life including my thoughts, words. and actions. In Jesus name, amen.


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