FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
"The tongue is the only muscle in the human body
that is attached at only one end. (Trivial fact)
You've no doubt realized by now, from some of my previous editorials, that I'm a lover of trivial information. Things like the above trivial fact fascinate me. I ran across that one and several others the other day that got me stirred up, editorially-wise so to speak, and thus are responsible for today's output.
In just a moment we'll get into our spiritual lesson proper, but before we do I'll just give you a couple more trivial tidbits that perhaps you'll find as interesting as I did. And all of our little facts deal with the human body in some form or fashion. Did you know that astronauts cannot belch while in space? The reason they can't is because there is no gravity to separate liquid from gas in their stomachs. Now see, weren't you just dying to have that bit of knowledge?
Here's another one to help fill the "trivia" section of your brain: The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself. I guess that's why God gave us dentists and false teeth. Okay, I'll quit the trivia and we'll get to the lesson.
Although my comment about God giving us dentists and false teeth was offered in sort of a humorous way, we need to understand that, in reality, everything we have in and on this earth comes from God. Especially our human bodies. The Psalmist David said it best when he said: "For you formed my inward parts, you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psa. 139:13-14)
For the rest of our lesson today we'll concentrate on just one part of the body and that will be the part addressed in our opening trivial fact - the tongue. And laying all humor aside, in applying this trivial bit of information to our lesson, can't you easily grasp why we have the phrase "wagging our tongues?" They can very easily be "wagged" because they're only tied down on one end.
Taking this thought to the next step, perhaps that's why this little part of the body is addressed so many times throughout the Word of God. We'll look at some of the things God tells us about our tongues in just a moment, but I'd like to point out something before we do and that is, like a lot of things, they can be both beneficial and detrimental. By the use of them we can do either great and wonderful things or we can do terrible and harmful things. And that is pretty much what we'll find God telling us about as we look at this unique part of the body - the tongue.
When we hear sermons from the pulpit about the "tongue" we most often hear the words of James recited to us from the 3rd chapter of his book. I like the way he puts it in verse 2 where he says that "we all stumble in many ways" and then goes on to mention that one of those "ways" is in "what we say." Based upon personal experience, I for one, have absolutely no problem in believing that our words probably get us in more trouble than any other "way" of "stumbling."
But, back to the words of James, he goes on to tell us just how powerful and unruly the "tongue" can be. Parabolically, as small as it is, like the rudder compared to the whole ship, it can turn the vessel in any direction. Or, like a little campfire, it can burn down the whole forest. But, you know what he says is the worst of all things the "tongue" can do? It can "stain the whole body" and set our lives "on a course for hell." (Verses 4-6)
He further tells us that, try as we might, we just can't "tame it." Because it's only tied on one end, sometimes we let it wag when we shouldn't. Here's a sad picture painted by James in verses 9 and 10 - that with our "tongues" we both "bless our Lord and Father" and then "curse people who are made in the likeness to God." That from the "same mouth" and with the use of the same "tongue" comes both "blessing and cursing."
Of course, we know and understand that control of the "tongue" is guided by our "Biblical heart," our minds. Haven't we read the words of Christ, recorded by Matthew about how that it's out of the "treasure," the storeroom if you will, of the "heart" that the "mouth speaks?" (12:34-35) Of course we have, many times. And, remember what James said about how our "tongue" can set us on a "course for hell?" Before we leave Matthew, look what Christ adds regarding our words: "For by your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned." (12:37)
My mother had a little plaque on the wall that read: "Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them." This was not a Biblical saying, but it just as well could have been. As we close our thoughts here today, let's look at a few other passages from God's Word that speaks to this mighty little member of our body.
Solomon says some really neat things about how we operate our "tongues." In Prov. 10:20-21 he says that the "tongues of the righteous" are like "choice silver." That they "feed many," as in being nutritious or helpful. But, on the other hand, the "heart and lips" of the "wicked and foolish" (IE: their tongues) are of little worth and beneficial to no one.
In Prov. 12:18 he adds that "the tongue of the wise brings healing." And again, touching on the previously mentioned thoughts about James' "course" and Christ's "justified/condemned," notice what Solomon says way back before either Christ or James uttered their words: that "truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment." (12:19)
One last look at something Solomon said about the "tongue" that fits perfectly with what we read in the 3rd chapter of James. He said in Prov. 18:21 that "Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." It therefore behooves us to keep in mind what James said about one of the major stumbling blocks in the lives of all mankind - the control of the "tongue" and, to the best of our ability, choose to use our "tongues" as agents of "healing." That we always try to do good things by our words and not speak harmful things. That we speak "blessings" instead of "cursings."