Pastoral Perspectives

Watch Over Your Tongue!

On 12 April 2014, I uttered this prayer in regards to my tongue: “Lord God Almighty, forgive me of speaking unpleasant words against some of Your people. Forgive me of slandering others with my tongue. Forgive me of saying things which I should not be saying about people. Give me wisdom in my speech and service. Let me speak encouraging words to Your people rather than discouraging words. Set a guard over my mouth and keep watch over the door of my lips. In Jesus’ most precious and powerful Name, I humbly ask. Amen.”

What comes out from your mouth? Watch out for what proceeds from your mouth! Do you build up someone or do you tear down? Do you lift up a soul or do you dishearten? The tongue needs to be watched over but are you able to watch over your tongue? This reminds me of the Word of God in the book of James which mentions that the tongue is described as a fire, a world of unrighteousness. In James 4:8, it is written as “no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” So, how? Are you in a helpless and hopeless state? Is there no solution to this problem of the tongue? By your own, you cannot overcome the problem but with the guidance, help and intervention of God, you can have the victory. Indeed, “…Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:57).

You know that you require help in this area and so, you must go to God for help. In Psalm 121:2, it is written as “My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” You can confidently say that “The LORD is my Helper.” (Hebrews 13:6a). We can ask God to help us to be gracious towards one another just as He has been gracious towards us. When we consider carefully the contents of our words, we would know whether they are beneficial to the hearers or not. We can learn to speak gracious words to one another. In Proverbs 16:24, it is written as “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” You do not need to use harsh words when you speak to others but gracious words. Let us learn from Jesus as in Luke 4:22, “And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. . . .” The psalmist has this prayer to teach us: “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” (Psalm 141:3). I will encourage us to pray to God asking Him for help to overcome the problem of the tongue and to give us the victory to utter gracious words to others so as to build others up, to edify and lift up the hearts of others. 

As for me, I would rather think first before I speak or utter anything at all less I speak discouraging and disappointing words to others. Cultivating the right attitudes towards others and having the right thoughts of others will help me in how I relate with others and how I speak to others. I must not be easily agitated, annoyed and angered in my relating with others but instead exercise love and patience with them. God has called me to peace and love and with a grateful and thankful heart, I will receive others warmly in the same way Christ Jesus has received me. With God’s grace and help, I will not give in to gossiping and backbiting about others (see Galatians 5:13-15). From Ephesians 4:25-32, I have learnt to speak words which are necessary for the Body of Christ, the Community of Believers, so as to build up, to strengthen the faith of the believers in Christ and to see to it that they are growing towards spiritual maturity. I have also desired to mind my own business and not become busybodies (see 1 Thessalonians 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:11; 1 Timothy 5:13; 1 Peter 4:15), poking into the privacy of others or provoking others unnecessarily. I will learn to speak less but listen more instead. “Be quiet” is better than wanting to be heard. There is a lot for us to learn in regards to “watching over your tongue”.

Let us, as children of God, as fellow believers in Christ, as co-workers in the ministry, sincerely seek to speak gracious words and loving words to each other for the good of others and the community of faith here at True Way. May we deliberately and diligently seek the guidance and help of our gracious and loving Heavenly Father in the way we relate with each other and in the manner we speak with one another! May we learn to be prayerful at all times so that we really watch over our tongues! May the Name of Christ Jesus our Lord be glorified amongst us! To God be the glory! Amen.

Preacher George Ang

July 15, 2018