4 Principles for Taming the Tongue

Communication has existed from before the beginning of time. And it began with God, when he created everything, through speech. He simply spoke and it all came into being.

God’s word constructs.

God used, and uses, communication to construct, and he wants us to do likewise.

Through it he created a safe place, provided for his creature’s needs, and set protective boundaries. There was no negativity until Adam and Eve decided to disobey and stray from his good ways.

Everything took on negative aspects then, even communication. And we see these from the early chapters of Genesis onward, with blame-passing, anger, evasion, and lying. In many ways communication has become more complex today, but it still adds up to a transmission of thoughts, feelings, and ideas.

The problem is that it’s within our sinful nature to use communication as a slashing weapon. And the same holds true whether in speech, writing, facial expressions, or body language.

Using communication to edify

That is the issue at stake. How can we learn to use communication as a tool of edification?

For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.

Matthew 12:4 WEB

Christ taught that we speak out of the abundance of our hearts. From it comes either good or evil, love or hate. Care and kindness of others, or mean-spirited treatment. I don’t think any of us really want to be mean, uncaring people. Yet when we neglect our hearts, they risk becoming that way.

It all boils down to how we fill our heart.

Good thoughts, words, and actions come from filling our heart with God’s goodness. And that is key to helping us either open our lips (or hit that send button) in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.

Good thougts, words, and actions come from filling our heart with God’s goodness. And that is key to helping us either open our lips or hit that send button in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.

In moments of extreme anger or frustration we seldom have the presence of mind to stop and think clearly. And we risk spewing our negativity out on others. So let’s look at 4 simple truths that can help us turn our tongues (and all communication) into building tools!

4 principles for taming the tongue

And for turning it into a positive, constructive force.

1. See others through Christ’s eyes.

Seeing them with his eyes of abundant love can teach us to love in the same way. And by having his abundant love in our hearts, real love can begin to flow out to them. Even during difficult, unpleasant situations or strife.

2. Take in wholesome communication.

As the saying goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Much of what is out there in films, books, TV, news, social media, and internet is filled with negativity. Things that criticize, demean, and tear others down.

But striving to follow Philippians 4:8 even in our entertainment, will help to fill our hearts with God’s goodness. By thinking on all that is true, honorable, just, pure, and lovely – our hearts will be filled with those thoughts. We will think lovely thoughts, even of others – and be more likely to construct and edify, not cut down or criticize.

3. Remember Christ’s forgiveness.

Remember who he is and all the love he showers on you. Recalling how much Christ has forgiven us, makes it that much easier to treat others with kindness, mercy, and forgiveness.

4. View yourself in the right light.

Criticism often stems from our own pride or insecurity. By either thinking ourselves superior to others, or by wanting to seem so, it’s easy to begin cutting down. But that only makes us look worse, not better. And we have become not a better person, but worse.

In Christ, we are all equal, and equally needy of him. Seeing ourselves on an equal plane with others, is a great leveler of both our pride and our actual value. And that can grant us the ability to help others in their struggles.

So when you feel either pride or insecurity slipping in – find someone you can compliment or encourage. Helping others can keep us from over focusing on ourselves – and help us see that we are all in the same struggle together.

For out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The good man out of his good treasure brings out good things, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings out evil things.

Matthew 12:34-35 WEB

Images: Women | Earth | Finger on lips | Keyboard | Hand on mouth.

Published by Signora Sheila

Wife, mom, nonna, missionary, and Bible student on a spiritual walk with Christ @mycammino. Because life is at heart a spiritual journey of going further up and further in, into the Father heart of God.

10 thoughts on “4 Principles for Taming the Tongue

    1. You’re not alone in that Tom! I think we all battle with our tongues. Scripture is certainly right in asking “Who can tame the tongue?” It is definitely one of the hardest things to do. We are so ready with a quick response – even when we shouldn’t be. Oh Lord, grant us greater love, patience, and self-control!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This needs to continually be reposted, my friend. Communication is so easily spun to mean things it was never intended to mean. Thanks for this, Sheila. It’s one of my favorites.


    1. Thank YOU, Dayle! Communication is a challenge, for sure. Our tongues are often over-active. May the Lord help us train our tongues to keep still. To become people of few words – but of words that count for something, help others, bring positive change. Only the Lord can help in this. Oh how we need him!!


  2. Such good points you make about controlling the tongue. What you chose for #1 certainly is key: See others through Christ’s eyes. Thank you, Sheila, for the reminder that the right perspective can change the heart, and then our words (and inflection too) will also be impacted–just as that scripture makes clear (Matthew 12:34). ( It’s a reminder I need to practice more diligently!)


    1. Thank you so much, Nancy. You’re right, it really comes down to perspective. What we focus on will change our hearts – and therefore our bevaviour, words, inflection – everything really! And we all need to practice this more diligently!


  3. A topic that continues to confound us all–followers of Jesus and those who choose not to. We’re so impacted by words or the world that what goes through our minds too often is garbage. Thanks for these wonderful insights. You’re thinking is spot on.


    1. Thanks Dayle. Our tongues sure can get the best of sometimes, can’t they? The thought that they come out of the abundance of our heart just really spoke to me. If I’m having a hard time managing my words, it’s likely because I’m not managing my heart well. I want to do better at guarding my heart!


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