When Our Tongue Is Out of Control

Jan 9, 2012, Written by Sue Miley

Listening to the sermon this morning was like taking a bath in a pool of conviction.  Can you imagine the passage.  I am sure we all have one that is our personal cleansing.  Mine happens to deal with the harmful words we say.

The words from James 3:1-5 echoed in my head:

Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.

This is just the beginning.  James continues through 3:12.

The Tongue Often Leads to Sin

Our pastors made several points that I noted:

  • The tongue is the quickest vehicle for sin to escape.
  • When our tongue is out of control it does not honor God.
  • Where there are many words, sin is unavoidable.

Although the verse starts with teachers, I believe it is applicable to us all.  As Christian small business owners we are all teachers.  As parents, as counselors, as friends we all have opportunities to teach.  Therefore, these verses are for all of us.

Christian Business Owners Are Teachers

As a small business owner, our employees look to us for direction, for education, and always as an example.  Our customers see us in a fiduciary role as well.

Although the passages hit me in all areas of life, I know that as a counselor, coach, and business owner, I have a responsibility to my clients and my team.

Today the pastor said, “have you ever thought about something you have said and wished you could take back”.  I thought, yes, like twice this past week.

I even remember thinking during this past week, I really need to pray more about my thoughts and my tongue.  I am not saying the kind of things that are really in my heart.  It is like timing and stupidity aligned to bring words out of my mouth….yet, although God says I am not in control, I feel totally responsible.

Jesus Is Always The Way

The antidote to my words tumbling uncontrollably from my thoughts, out of my mouth, is Jesus himself.  We are to be dependent.  Without Him we aren’t capable.  If we were we would be in control of the rest of our life too, as it says in James 3:2.  Since I know that isn’t true, I know I need to turn to God.

We may not think much of what we say, but those we speak to are impacted in ways that can hurt them, damage our relationships, and bring us to sin.

As a Christian business owner, I know that I have an even higher responsibility that I will be held accountable to.  Our pastor made it clear I can’t fix this in my own strength.  So I will pray that the Holy Spirit will mercifully shut me up, and speak through me, so that I don’t hurt those I care about and so that His honor is not tarnished!

Reader Interactions


  1. Jim says

    Good message. The power of the tongue goes both ways; it can cause damage or it can build up, guide and teach well. Don’t be silent. Speak well.

  2. Loren Pinilis says

    Our words have power to cut in incredibly powerful ways. I can still remember painful things that have been said to me in the past, often unknowingly by others. Remembering that convicts me to only speak blessings to those around me.

    • S_Miley says

      I agree Loren. Unfortunately, the power sometimes is beyond us because some things we say may hurt someone and we don’t even realize it. That makes it harder. Our pastor did encourage us that the goal of James message was NOT to have us remain silent. Again, for me it is to stay focused on God so that His Spirit will guide my words. At least that is what I am praying!

      Thanks for your comments.

  3. Sheila Arnold says

    Thanks for sharing this. Today one of the scriptures that came up while I was praying was Provs. 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Every day I get reminded to “shut up” first, is a good day. 🙂 Peace and belief, Sheila.

    • S_Miley says

      Sheila, Love it! I can say there are many a time that I have sat on my hands willing myself to keep quiet! I am with you!


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Sue Miley

Sue Miley MBA, MA, LPC helps small business owners build successful businesses on a foundation of Christian values. After 20 years in business, and 10 years as a Christian counselor, Sue uses a combination of faith, business and psychology to help clients in business and in life.

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