“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.”
In James 3, God is teaching believers the importance of controlling their words. He talks about the power of the tongue, and how in one moment it can bless and in the next moment it is cursing. He plainly states, “…these things ought not so to be.” God is trying to teach the believer the power of words. He is also trying to teach that words have consequences. What you say does matter, and how you say it is just as important. Several observations must be pointed out about the power of words and their consequences.
First, the greatest power exhibited is the power to control your words. God says in verse 6, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.” God equates the power of the tongue with horses and ships. Though the horse is powerful and the ship is great, they can both be controlled; however, the tongue is one of the smallest members of the body, but it cannot be controlled. Because the tongue has so much power, you must learn to keep it under control.
Second, words spoken should not be taken lightly. Every word which comes out of your mouth should be words that you plan to speak. Many people say things before they think, and those people are constantly cleaning up the messes that their tongue gets them into. My friend, you are going to have to understand that the power of the tongue and the words that it speaks. You cannot become the type of person who thinks that you can take your words back.
Third, you can’t take back what you have spoken. Once you say something, it has forever been sketched in the hearts and minds of those who heard what you said. You must always remember that we live in times when everything you say could be recorded. If someone were to record everything you said and you knew it, you would certainly be more guarded with what you say. Let me remind you that the mind is recording every word you say. Those who hear you speak have a mind that is recording everything you say. This is why you must be careful with what you tell people you are going to do. Don’t tell people you will do something and forget about it because their mind won’t forget. Once you say something, it is going to be held against you forever.
Moreover, just because you got over what you said doesn’t mean that others will. You may think your apology for what you said is enough, but the hurt your words say will dig deeply into the minds of those who heard them, and they may never recover from your hurtful words. Always remember that hurtful words are like a bomb; they always leave collateral damage that oftentimes can never be repaired.
Fourth, power and position doesn’t give anyone a right to say what they want. Let me warn those in leadership that your position doesn’t give you a right to say what you want to say. You can say what you want to say, but always remember that your followers can always leave and follow someone else who has the character to control their mouth and emotions.
Fifth, a person will only control the power of their tongue through the power of the Holy Ghost. The answer to controlling the tongue is to be Spirit filled all the time. If you want to keep your words from hurting others, you better let the Holy Spirit guide every word you speak.