By Andy Alexander
How many times do those of us who know God’s will concerning the use of our tongue feel like saying, “O, that tongue of mine has gotten me into trouble again”? God created us with a tongue and this tongue can and should be used as God intended.
God has repeatedly warned us about the improper use of our tongue. Cursing, lying, backbiting, gossip, murmuring, vain questioning, and meddling in other’s affairs are all mentioned as sins that can be committed with the tongue (Rom. 1:29-30; 1 Tim. 5:13; 2 Tim. 2:16,23; Eph. 4:25; 5:4; 1 Thess. 4:11). No child of God would argue that these are not serious sins.
We know that any sin in the sight of God is grievous and can cause us to lose our eternal reward, yet sometimes we fail to bridle our tongue and it runs loose like a cat with its tail on fire in a barn full of dry hay (1 Jn. 1:7-9). After the fire has been brought under control and finally extinguished, the damage report is made. Seldom, if ever, can things all be put back like they once were.
So it is with the tongue. When we break a promise and tell something we have been asked not to repeat, a trust is broken. It may take years to build that trust back and it is possible that it will never be as strong as it once was. If we lie and that lie is discovered (most eventually are), it, too, may take years to repair the damage.
Meddling in other’s affairs can also create hard feelings. Some people are more private than others and they do not go around telling everything that’s on their mind. We should respect each other’s privacy. If they have something occurring in their life that they want us to be aware of, they can tell us. Our Lord would not have told us “to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business” if it were not for our own good (1 Thess. 4:11).
There are times when we as brethren should go and talk to another brother or sister about problems they may have. Perhaps sin is involved and a call to repentance is necessary (Gal. 6:1). We must make sure that we take the steps given by our Lord and not veer to the right or left and discuss it with those who have no business knowing of the incident. Gossip can lead to resentment and cause one or more to lose their soul for eternity.
Our tongue must be constantly guarded (Jas. 3:2-12; 1:26). Any occasion when we gather with others can turn into a fertile field where gossip can germinate and grow. After the worship services; after the ladies Bible class; work days; before, during, and after business meetings; and common meals shared together are just a few of these occasions. Let us use these times for the production of valuable fruit such as blessing, encouraging, and exhorting one another – not a place for weeds of gossip, backbiting, and slandering to take root and grow.
Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 12, p. 367
June 18, 1992