Taming the tongue … and the second tongue!

by Rev Jason Phua

Bible Readings: James 2:18-3:18; Psalms 118:1-18

READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
James 3:5 “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”

The Apostle James had a situation to handle. Many Christians in the church he had written the letter to, cannot seem to tame their tongues. As such, disunity and chaos were rampant. People got hurt by untamed tongues and unrighteousness pursues. James parallel an untamed tongue to be “restless evil” and “full of deadly poison”. With the same tongue, we praise God; and with the same tongue we curse others who are made in the likeness of God. What strong phrases the Apostle had used! Yet we know in our hearts that what he said is true.

A child’s future can be destroyed by parents’ consistent verbal abuse. A teenager might attempt suicide due to bullying ways and words used by so called “friends”. Divorces might occur due to something said between the husband and wife. Indeed the tongue can be a very powerful tool – both for edification as well as having the potential to destroy. May the Lord help us to tame the tongue and use it only for His glory.

In this day and age, there is another type of “tongue” we need to be aware of. This will be the “tongue” of social media. Almost everyday, we use emails, WhatsApp, SMS etc to “speak” to one another. In this domain, we also need to ask God for help to be in self control. In fact, it is even easier to allow this “second tongue” to run wild; especially when we do not have to see the person whom we are communicating with. This is why when “controversial” topics arise, there also arises many keyboard warriors who usually make matters worse. We need God’s help (wisdom from above) to tame this second tongue as well. As James reminded us in 3:17-18: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”

Lord our God, may you help us to see the importance of taming our physical tongue as well as the “second tongue” in our minds and hearts. May we grow to be pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and bearing good fruits for Your glory. Amen.

Day 86

by Rev Joel Yong

2 Samuel 13:21-22
When King David heard of all these things, he was very angry. But Absalom spoke to Amnon neither good nor bad, for Absalom hated Amnon, because he had violated his sister Tamar.

We read that David was furious at the incestuous rape of Tamar by Amnon. But he apparently did not deal with the situation nor punish the offender!

It caused a tear in his family’s relationships.
Absalom hated Amnon and plotted his revenge.

2 Samuel 13:28-30
Then Absalom commanded his servants, Mark when Amnon’s heart is merry with wine, and when I say to you, Strike Amnon, then kill him. Do not fear; have I not commanded you? Be courageous and be valiant. So the servants of Absalom did to Amnon as Absalom had commanded. Then all the king’s sons arose, and each mounted his mule and fled. While they were on the way, news came to David, Absalom has struck down all the king’s sons, and not one of them is left.

It caused murder to take place between brothers. Amnon died at Absalom’s hands.

Sometimes we try to sweep issues under a carpet and not deal with them but it ends up coming back to haunt us.
That is what happened to David’s inability to act on his family issues.

Strange- he led a nation but was unable to lead his own household well.

2 Samuel 13:37-39
But Absalom fled and went to Talmai the son of Ammihud, king of Geshur. And David mourned for his son day after day. So Absalom fled and went to Geshur, and was there three years. And the spirit of the king longed to go out to Absalom, because he was comforted about Amnon, since he was dead.

Next we read that Absalom flees and David mourns. He misses his son but yet strangely David doesn’t go out to invite or ask him to return … and he had armies at his disposal to seek out Absalom!

It is important to deal with relationship issues and not sweep it under the carpet.. as they arise lest they fester and rot and cause damage to our family and relationships.