|James 1:26 |
26 If anyone among you considers himself to be religious but does not bridle [restrain] his tongue, he deceives his own heart [thinking to be religious], and this man's religion is worthless.6
6 If any man among you seems to be religious but does not bridle [restrain] his tongue, he deceives his own heart [thinking to be religious], and this man's religion is worthless.
Look at ships, which though they are so great and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, wherever the pilot wants to go.
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it can boast of great things. Consider how great a forest a little fire kindles!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. It is set among our members, defiling the whole body, and setting on fire the course of our life; and it is set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beasts and of bird, and of serpent, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and has been tamed by mankind.
But no man can tame the tongue, it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:4-8. (Only the grace of God can tame a man's tongue.)
Even a fool, when he doesn't speak, is considered wise; and he who shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding. Pro 17:28
A fool utters all his mind, but a wise man keeps it in until afterwards. Pro 29:11
In a multitude of words there is no lack of sin; but he that refrains his lips is wise. Pro 10:19
Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it shall eat its fruit. Pro 18:21
But I say to you, For every idle word which men speak, they will give an account of the same in the day of judgment.
For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Mat 12:36-37
For we all err in many things; and if any man does not err in his words, he is a perfect man, James 3:2
So if you are going to be condemned for speaking idle words, and if you cannot control your words until you are perfect, then perfection is obviously required to be justified.
Before you are perfect, you are speaking from your carnal mind, which is enmity with God; so we all should practice speaking as little as possible. To help us minimize our words, the following messages are from the Word of the Lord within: (the words in parentheses are not the Lord's and have been added for further understanding.)
- All talk is an abomination.
- God, save us from the sayings of our mouth.
- Conversation is to be restricted so much that you are ostracized. (ostracized — avoided, no longer accepted in a group)
- Let your yes be yes and your no be no.
- When spoken to, don't be rude; you can answer, but let your words be as few as possible.
- Avoid foolish conversations.
- Avoid foolish controversies.
- Pay attention to what you are saying; make it brief.
- Let your words be few, seasoned with grace.
- In the course of your day, you might have only one or two words said as you pursue your goal.
- Speak only if really necessary.
This will be hard at first, but it gets easier with practice. Don't start the unintended conversation with, Hi, how are you, just wave hello. Use email instead of initiating phone call conversations. There will be times when it is absolutely necessary for you to initiate an oral communication; make them as few as possible. When asked a question, answer yes or no if possible; and if not possible, stay conscious of what you are saying as you speak as few words as possible. Watch yourself in reaction to others speaking, and you will realize you are paying little attention to what they are saying and instead thinking what you want to next say; unfortunately that is what most conversations are — listening to oneself talk.
In your occupation it is often necessary to orally communicate; some of you even have jobs where you are in phone support. My advice is practice making your answers short, and avoid trying to establish rapport with war stories and asking pointless questions such as "how are you today," or "how's the weather out there," or "how about that xxx football team," "who's your favorite yyy?", etc. Net: stick to business.
The early Quakers practiced speaking as few words as possible as William Penn describes below from his Introduction to George Fox's Journal:
"They recommended silence by their example, having very few words upon all occasions. They were at a word in dealing; and their customers' many words could not tempt them from it; having more regard to truth than custom, to example than gain. They sought solitude; but when in company, they would neither use nor willingly hear unnecessary or unlawful discussions. Thus they preserved their minds pure and undisturbed from unprofitable thoughts and diversions."
When just before speaking you can hear what the Spirit prompts you to speak, the following messages from the Word of the Lord within apply :