Lectionary (Year B): Proverbs 1:20-33 or Isaiah 50:4-9a; Psalm 19 or Psalm 116:1-9; James 3:1-12; Mark 8:27-38
Theme: The power of the tongue for good or evil.
Message: “The Tyranny of the Tongue”
I was amazed recently to hear that the strongest muscle in the human body is…the tongue!
James illustrates this by comparing the tongue to a ship’s rudder, a small fire in a forest, and the bit in the horse’s mouth.
Consider the power of the tongue for good, for evil.
When someone uses words to hurt you and you retaliate nothing changes…the cycle continues, more anger, violence, sin and death. Instead we must break the cycle! If Christians don’t introduce hope and change into cycles of sin and death, who will? Love and understanding can destroy an enemy and create a friend.
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” True, or false?
“For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure. I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34b-37)
Three pastors had gathered for a time of personal confession. One confessed to alcoholism, another to gambling. The third confessed to being a gossip, and said, “I can’t wait to get out of here.”
In the course of a counseling session a woman once told me that her mother told her she was a pig, and literally put her out with the pigs. Imagine how that must have felt to a child. One can survive a physical attack: escaping with a bruised body, painfully hurt. But words can assault a person’s self-esteem and damage one’s own self-image that causing permanent damage to a person’s self-concept.
I’ve thought about it and determined that what we need is a great filter (some of us require an “industrial strength filter) as one former member confessed to me following my message. This “filter” processes every word as it passes from the mind to the mouth with these questions: 1) Is it true? 2) Is it needed? 3) Is it kind?
If you opened an account at the bank and every time you said something to hurt someone, a dollar was withdrawn, and every time you said something to help someone a dollar was added to your account, how rich would you be?
Music: “Lord, Speak to Me,” “Make Me A Blessing,” “O For A Thousand Tongues”
O Lord God, who spoke the truth in love through your son, Jesus, we pray this morning for the grace to cleanse our thoughts and minds so that when we speak we may do so in kindness and love and not in anger and retaliation. Though at times it may seem unnatural for us to do so, with the help of your Holy Spirit we are enabled through supernatural power to be like Jesus in our talk, and in our walk. In the strong name of Jesus we pray, Amen.
Make a difference in the world to which Christ calls you. Don’t just blend in, but be salt and light! And the Lord God will go with you, speak through you, and bless you in order to make you a blessing. Amen.