Wise and Foolish Tongue


Scripture Reading: Proverbs 15


“A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1


Today’s Radio Progam



Right uses of the tongue

The tongue has great power. With one utterance, it can either build up or destroy a person. How important are our words? There are over 150 references to the tongue, lips or mouth in the book of Proverbs alone.

Employed by the human-development center of a corporation in the Midwest, a young woman was training the employees in proper dress codes and etiquette.

One day as she was stepping onto the elevator, a man casually dressed in jeans and a golf shirt got on with her.

Thinking of her responsibilities, she scolded, “Dressed a little casually today, aren’t we?”

The man replied, “That’s one benefit of owning the company.…”

Gulp. How many of us have been too hasty with our speech and have gotten ourselves into quite an embarrassing predicament like that in the illustration? It seems ironic that one of the smallest parts of our bodies can cause so much trouble!

When my boys were younger, I spent a lot of time attempting to teach them to control their tongues and how instead, the tongue could be used to build up. I even used the toothpaste illustration, squeezing out a tube of toothpaste (our words) and then not being able to put it all back in the tube after it was squeezed out; so are our words. I was attempting to communicate to them how much God cares about our words to others. After all, God created the world and all that is in it with speech!

Some good and edifying uses for the tongue are: wise counsel (Prov. 10:31 & 15:7), rebuke and reproof (Prov. 27:6), encouragement (Prov. 15:4) and testifying of God to others through our testimony; the way we speak and what we speak about (Prov. 10:21).

Wrong uses of the tongue

There are some wrong uses of the tongue besides the obvious examples like yelling, belittling, or rudeness. These are such things as flattery (Prov. 26:28 & 28:23). This is not flattery in the sense of complimenting someone because you are attempting to be kind. This is flattery that has its purpose and roots in selfishness. You are attempting to “butter” that person up and get what you want, even if what you are telling them is not true. Another is quarreling or constant temper flare ups (Proverbs 18:6 & 29:11). There is a quote that says “I have often regretted my speech, but never my silence.” How true that is! Some others are gossip (Prov. 16:28), lying (Prov. 12:19) and evil (Prov. 6:24).

How can we control it?

The starting point of getting your tongue under control is to admit that you can’t control your tongue! It is something that needs to be taken to the Lord and prayed about- sometimes continuously. He will give you the power to control your speech and bring glory to Him! Colossians 3:17 is a good verse to meditate on and keep ever before you. This verse says “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” Everything we do, in word or deed, needs to have the focus of glorifying God. For some, that thought may be enough to help us stop what we’re about to say that we shouldn’t. Another verse that is good to memorize is James 1:9. If that is still not enough to slow our speech, ask a brother or sister in the Lord to hold you accountable. Your tongue can be put under the Lord’s control (Prov. 16:1).

What about you?

Are you yielding your tongue to God? Pray that you can yield this small part of your body for God’s glory (Romans 6).


Matthew Elroy

Disciple of Jesus, Husband, Father & pastor.

2 thoughts on “Wise and Foolish Tongue

  • August 15, 2018 at 02:44

    This is a problem for my daughter. She has not accepted Jesus a her savior and doesn’t see it as a problem when she says unacceptable words. I have mentioned this to her, which only makes her angry, and so have her little girls, who attend a Christian School and love the Lord. Renee tells them their adult words which tears me apart. I pray for her and her girls. Is there advice you can offer me?

    • August 15, 2018 at 22:17

      I’ll send you and email in the morning that is not publicly on the website. We will also pray for your daughter!

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