The Tongue that Corrupts
By Pastor Harold J. Kilborn
I will be presenting to you short Christian teachings each week and hope they are a blessing to you!
One of the hardest areas of the Christian life is the mouth; the tongue. The mouth has gotten more people in trouble. The book of James has a lot to say about the tongue; James doesn’t mince words.
Paul likens the tongue to a bit we put in horses’ mouth and a rudder on a ship; two small things that have the power to direct a large object. First of all, the tongue has the power direct a person’s life. In this newsletter, we will consider the tongue is like fire or a poisonous snake if it is not used correctly.
One of the greatest friends throughout history of man has been fire. Some historians believe that civilization began when man discovered fire. Fire has been used to cook, provide heat, and generate power. When fire is under control, what a blessing it is. When it is out of control, it can be devastating. Just like the tongue. When tongue is under control, what a blessing it can be to people. When it is out of control, it can ruin and destroy people, relationships, churches, etc. It can be like fire and spread and tear down people’s reputation because of gossip, which is the most heinous sin in the church. That’s why James covers it in great detail, because he knows one of the problems we have is with our mouths. When it is in control, what a blessing, but out of control, it can be devastating. Some you will remember the fire in London in 1886, that destroyed London and the fire in Chicago in 1870 with Mrs. O’Leary’s cow out in the barn tipped over the lantern and just the little spark caused the great fire of Chicago, that killed 300 people and left 100 thousand people homeless. Destroyed 1,750 building and it cost the city 400 million dollars in damages. A little spark can spread.
I have served almost 8 years in the Air Force in the Crash/Structural Fire Unit and was sent three times to Illinois Air Force Base for training. We studied the Chemistry of Fire and how to fight the different kinds of fire and studying different kinds of bombs, and how many minutes before a bomb or missile would explode.
I remember a B-66 reconnaissance plane that took off from the flight line and immediately came down and crashed. It was sad to go to the crash site to see three pilots burned to death; thank God it wasn’t a fighter jet that would daily fly to Vietnam full loaded with bombs and missiles.
So, he likens the tongue to that, as a fire. The tongue is a tiny spark, but it can set hundreds of people’s lives ablaze. The tongue can turn a gentle person into a monster.
Have you noticed how gossip spreads very quickly? Some said, “Rumors spread on the back of an eagle and truth spreads on the back of a turtle”. Have you noticed how lies and rumors travel so quickly, but truth travels so slowly? And what’s interesting, people are quick to believe it without checking up on the source. A tongue can quickly assassinate a person’s character.
Listen friend, many churches have been destroyed by the that little organ that sits behind the gates of your teeth. Pray that God will help you to be a blessing to people with your tongue. Let it be a tongue of refreshing, encouragement, and speaking words to build people.
Now it’s sad, because it is said that time heals all wounds, but there is one wound it doesn’t heal, and that’s the sin of gossip.
This is just an excerpt of a message I have preached some time ago. It’s interesting, because the Bible speaks more about the sins of the tongue than any other sin in the Bible.
I’ve communicated to the people I pastor, if someone begins to gossip about another person, just change the subject right away and they will get the message.