The Taming of the Tongue

James 3:7-10 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, (8) but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
(9) With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. (10) Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

While I am a self-professed introvert my voice seems to clearly resonate above all noise when I get frustrated. Sports events in which my children are involved are the fuel to my frustration.

I really wish it were not true, but I am the loud fan at the games. I am the first to point out a bad call. I frequently yell out instructions to coaches. I embarrass my wife. I often fear I damage my Christian witness.

The tongue is a dangerous beast. James actually says that “no man can tame the tongue.”

I am not sure how to take that. Does he say that to remind us that even good people will use their tongue for evil? Does he say that to comfort those of us who struggle? Does he say that to tell us that the taming of the tongue is a supernatural action? I really don’t know.

Believe it or not, I am better than I was years ago. My only stint as a youth football coach ended with a meltdown of epic proportions. I am better but I still struggle with my tongue.

I have learned a couple small lessons on this journey.

1. Ask God for Help. As with any struggle in the Christian life, I believe you need to ask God for help. Prayer is always a good answer.

2. Ask yourself, “Will I regret saying this later.” Yes, I still get loud, but I do not say ¾ of the stuff in my mind. My filter is getting stronger with age.

3. Count to 10 in your mind. Take a moment to process your thoughts and breathe deeply. Sometimes I like to get up and walk. I find my mouth often works overtime when I am nervous or afraid.

4. Find Something Positive to Say. Move your attention from the negative to the positive.

These are not fool-proof and I still struggle. I did it just last night. I literally have to remind myself of these suggestions daily. My tongue will always be a source of difficulty in my life. With the help of God and enough time to improve, I will get better. Lord willing!

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