The Tongue, A Damaging Weapon
In Psalm 64:3 the tongue is called “a sword.” This sword has certainly damaged, bruised, wounded, and killed more people than all the swords in all the wars since history began. You’ve seen it many times. That newly married couple – so lovey-dovey for days and days on end. But one day the fellow lost his temper and slashed into the heart and affections of his wife with uncontrollable anger and with words he might regret forever. But it was said. The damage was done. How often we need to remember that old saying: We cannot call back the arrow we’ve shot into the air, the water under the bridge, or the spoken word. One of the earliest poems I ever learned was:
Angry words, O let them never
From the tongue, unbridled slip.
With the soul’s best impulse
Ever check them,
Ere they soil the lips.
Angry words are quickly spoken,
Bitter thoughts are rashly stirred.
Fondest links of life are broken.
By a single angry word.
Is there something that could be numbered greater than the incomprehensible amount of stars in the heavens? What about the sands by the sea, every blade of grass, or we could add all of these things together. There would still be something that would exceed them in number! It’s the things said by this little monster called the tongue. This uncontrollable little red rebel that lives in a red cave guarded by two rows of white soldiers called teeth. Think about how many words are being spoken today just over all the telephones worldwide. And how about all the words slung around the globe by our TVs and radios? The tongue has done more damage than any other instrument in the human body.
We are responsible for the words that we speak. “And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.” (Matt. 12:36-37) Our own words snare us. (Prov. 6:2) We are ensnared by vows and promises spoken, but not kept. By reckless criticisms and rash judgments. “How can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man out of his good treasure brings forth what is good; and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth what is evil.” (Matt. 12:34-35)
The human heart can be a snakepit, a dungeon of devilry, a foxhole of filth, a pit of perversity. Actually, it’s the manufacturing place of all uncleanness and all sin. The showcase of the heart is the tongue. My simple words cannot exaggerate the corruption of the heart. And the filth that comes out of a filthy heart comes through the lips. But when I’ve said all I can about it, the strongest thing is surely said in Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue….”
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Leonard Ravenhill became one of the twentieth century’s greatest authorities on revival. His message is drastic, fearless, and often radical. Appalled by the disparity between the New Testament Church and what passes for the Church today, Ravenhill gives a no-compromise call to the principles of biblical revival.