I was a young teenager when I faced my first issue with gun control. My dad took me out hunting pheasants. I was a rookie with that 12-gauge shotgun. The first time a pheasant roared up out of those cornstalks, it scared me so much, I had no gun control. Couldn't fire a shot.
But the so much deadly violence and so many heart-wrenching deaths of innocent victims have catapulted gun control issues to center stage again. And this isn't a forum for debating those complex questions - there are other places for that.
I do know my Bible commands me to pray for "all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness" (1 Timothy 2:2). Always a good reminder.
So, while our political leaders work on what to do with guns, I've got another issue to deal with on a much more personal level. Chainsaws. Long before there were guns, there were chainsaws. The kind we humans carry in our mouth.
Because, as the Bible says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword" (Proverbs 12:18). Our words alone can cut a person to the heart. No blood on the outside, but all over on the inside.
God goes on to say that "the tongue has the power of life and death" (Proverbs 18:21). It's true. My words can either make a person feel more alive or more dead inside.
The chainsaw called the tongue cuts long and deep. We all know that from personal experience. From the ugly names, the scarring words, the crippling putdowns we've never forgotten. Chances are, the person who spewed those words doesn't even remember them. We sure do. And yet, we who are the wounded are also the wounders.
God's pretty blunt about our verbal chainsaw. He describes the tongue as "a world of evil...set on fire by hell...full of deadly poison" (James 3:2, 5-8).
I wonder how many times I've left - to borrow the name of a dark chapter in Native American history - a "trail of tears." From careless words. Critical words. Thoughtless or harsh words. All the nice words don't erase the nasty words. "Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing...this should not be" (James 3:10).
"No man can tame the tongue" - that's what God says. We don't want to keep wounding people with our words. But, honestly, we just keep doing it.
The disarming of the human tongue requires nothing short of divine intervention. A "Savior," to use the Bible word. Asking Jesus to take control of an out-of-control tongue. When we, like an addict in rehab, admit to Him that we're powerless to tame our tongue, we take the first big step to changing.
Of course, our words are only the symptom, not the problem. Jesus' diagnosis cuts right to the heart of the issue - literally. "Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks" (Matthew 12:34). Dark words are really the toxic radiation emitting from the waste dump in our heart.
That's why only Jesus can tame a tongue. Because only Jesus can change a heart. His game-changing sacrifice for our sin on a cross means that "sin shall not be your master" (Romans 6:14). Including the relentless sins of the tongue.
Jesus can clean out a heart full of anger and resentment and pain of the past. And turn a life-robbing chainsaw into a life-giving river. That's why I need to make King David's prayer my prayer - each day: "Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips" (Psalm 141:3).
After all, the Man who conquered death should have no problem taming my tongue.
|I love God's promise that "if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation" (2 Corinthians 5:17). If you're ready for the kind of life change only Jesus can make possible, I hope you'll visit YoursForLife.net - and find out how to make Him a personal Savior for you.|