The Soured Taste of the Silver Tongue

Posted on January 10, 2024 by Elizabeth Welte in Freedom Fighters

“For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.” –  James 3:2 (NKJV)


If there is anything to be said of the Book of James is that it is intended to assist Christians become mature, which means I better read it a lot more often. However, it is still my “go to” book whenever I forget just what it is I’m supposed to be walking in. There are also warnings in it that speak to an idle faith and an idle tongue, and as we all know being idle can lead to all kinds of issues. For a while I thought my faith had been idling like an engine needing a tune-up, but when prayer gets answered and not bounced off the ceiling, your faith becomes revved back up to proper idling speed. But as for that idle tongue??? Well, maybe we can take a look at what can be done about that.


Sinclair B. Ferguson wrote an essay titled, “The Bit, the Bridle, and the Blessing” and it’s his look at James 3:1-12. He calls this the most sustained discussion in the New Testament concerning the use of the tongue. Sometimes I think the title for this section of the Bible should be called “You Oughta Watch What You Say” but I’m not the author of His Word, and concerning my own use of words maybe I oughta heed my own humor. After all, as Sinclair puts it, “tongue-mastery is the fruit of self-mastery” so there is that to consider, as well as, how we use our tongue being the evidence of where we are spiritually. Our speech displaying our fruits, if you will.


Maybe the best illustration to this point can be found in Matthew 12:22-37. A demon possessed had been brought to Jesus to be healed, and when he was, those wacky Pharisees accused Jesus of being in league with the Devil. After warning them that a divided kingdom becomes desolated and that bad trees don’t produce good fruit, Jesus says to them, “Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34) James understood this as well and even before chapter 3, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” (James 1:26) I’m guessin’ this means if you can’t rightly divide what’s in the heart maybe keepin’ your words to yourself is a good thing to do. Maybe…


“Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” – Ephesians 4:29


When you take a deeper look at James 3:2, you’ll notice something that speaks to how James even saw himself. It’s kinda self-confessional but when he says, “For we all stumble in many things,” James realizes that only Jesus was able to control the tongue and that the rest of us have a long way to go when it comes to the mastery of how to say what you need to say if you need to say anything at all. Paul was also one for knowing how to say what needed to be said as he told the church in Colossae, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” (Colossians 4:6) I once had a boss who would tell you two good things about you before he dropped the hammer…we called that “sugar-coating.”


And that’s the one thing we need to be reminded of as we mature in our own Christian walk. There really isn’t a good or smart way to sugar coat truth. It simply is what it is, but if you’re the type of Christian who can’t stand the way someone “Talks Torah” simply because he hasn’t used any of those elegant words found in a thesaurus and yet God’s truth still has been conveyed, maybe you oughta check yourself, before you wreck yourself and the salt you think you talk is only useful for road asphalt. Remember, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13)


Like James, I haven’t too much an issue admitting that I’m not a “perfect” Christian but as a Freedom Fighter writer (who has been criticized for his use of words) I am mindful that what I type on my qwerty board can, no, will be, taken into consideration doubly at The Bema Seat (that’s even if I hear “Well done, enter in”) so I’m hoping El Elyon has a sense of humor like we all pray He does. AND, if you haven’t noticed, Secularland has an extremely ugly potty mouth these days, so it’s to us to get that salt shaker out and let the Good News be proclaimed (even if its in a Walmart). Because we are to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15) Amen?


Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.


Written by Chris Hughes: Chris is a child of El Elyon, a son, a husband, a father, and has recently become a grandpop. He has an education in Biblical doctrine and is a graduate of The Colony of Mercy, 11/2003. He has been a Freedom Fighter contributor since 2008. You can email him at

Think About This: “The control of the tongue has both negative and positive aspects. It involves the ability to restrain the tongue in silence. But it also means being able to control it in gracious speech when required.” – Sinclair B. Ferguson

The Daily Bible Reading: Romans 8. You can download our 2024 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here.

This Week’s Verse to Memorize: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9

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