Watch Your Tongue

If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
— James 3:3-5 (ESV)

Have you been maliciously maligned before? Have you experienced being falsely accused? People tell lies about you out of anger or jealousy. The damage is further compounded by gossips. You are at a loss wondering how you should respond. Words can be damaging.

Those who try to destroy others with lies, half-truths and gossips think that they are inflicting harm on their victims. Little do they realise that they are also bringing harm to themselves. By their wickedness, they are setting themselves up for failure. They do not just destroy the integrity and reputation of their unsuspecting victims; they also ruin themselves. In tearing down others, they will eat the fruit of self-destruction.

The Principle of Boomerang

Few people are aware of the spiritual principle of boomerang. The tongue has the power of life and death. You may have come across this verse in the bible in the book of Proverbs – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Proverbs 18:21 – ESV). Most people think that it refers to the effects of their words on others. However, the impact is also on yourself. Your words have a boomerang effect on yourself.

The tongue wields tremendous power. The words that you utter bring either life or death to yourself. If you use your tongue properly, you would bring blessings to your life. Conversely, if you use it improperly, you would bring curses on yourself. You will eat the fruit of your own words. This is the power of your tongue.

This is no superstition. Neither is this an Old Testament concept. The apostle, James, says a fair bit about the power of the tongue, mostly negative, in his letter. He compares the tongue to the bits in horses’ mouths and rudders of ships. Like the tongue, these are small objects, and hardly noticeable. However, they exert a disproportionate influence over the horses and ships. The bit dictates the movement of the powerful horse while the rudder determines the direction of the ship. In the same way, our tongues determine the course and destiny of our lives.

This being the case, we must wield our tongues wisely. However, there is a problem. If you care to admit, it is very difficult to keep our tongues under control. Actually. it is next to impossible. James makes the comment that “no human being can tame the tongue” (James 3:8), which spells trouble. An uncontrolled tongue defiles the whole body and sets on fire the entire course of a person’s life (James 3:6). The implications here are unwholesome words bring sicknesses to the body and wreak havoc in our lives. Therefore, be careful what we say because they have a boomerang effect on our own lives.

Living the Good Life

Do you desire to have a good life and enjoy God’s abundant blessings? Then, heed the advice of the psalmist, David.

Psalm 34:11-13 (NIV) - Come, my children, listen to me; I will teach you the fear of the LORD. Whoever of you loves life and desires to see many good days, keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies.

The fear of the Lord is a biblical concept that has gone out of fashion in the recent years. Christians shun the thought of it because nobody likes a fearsome God. However, if you desire the good life, you should seriously take heed to cultivate a healthy fear of God.

The first area in which the fear of God is manifested in our life is in the words of our mouth. Be so afraid of God such that you refrain from speaking evil, telling lies and indulging in gossips. If we keep a tight rein on our tongues, we would see good days. Otherwise, you are courting trouble.

The same advice is given in the book of Proverbs.

Proverbs 21:23 (ESV) - Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.

Proverbs 13:3 (ESV) - Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.

Trouble and even ruin await those who do not exercise control over their tongues. Why should you court death and compromise with your destiny? Bridle your tongue and keep a tight rein over your mouth. Then, you shall see many good days ahead.


Proverbs 15:4 (NKJV) - A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.

This is a fascinating verse. Perverseness means uncontrollable, unmanageable and wrong use. The word, break, in Hebrew is shever. It can also mean breach, fracture or leakage. In other words, a perverse tongue is a breach or leakage in the spirit. Our spirit can leak!

It is one thing to be blessed. It is another thing to hold on to the blessings. A perverse tongue leaks the blessings that God has poured into our life. That is such a waste!

God has blessed us with so many good things. Make sure you do not leak them through malicious talk, lies and gossip. Plug the leak and retain the blessings.

Therefore, if you care about your life and destiny, you may want to be very prudent with your words. Be wise with how you use your tongue. Exercise self-control. Use it to bless. Why throw away your life and a great future with unnecessary words?

Pastors Leslie & Adeline Chua