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Sins of the tongue

BY PROSPER TINGINI

St Peter wrote: “He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile; let him turn away from evil and do right; let him seek peace and pursue it.” God hates a tongue that pierces others, and a tongue that bites. Proverbs 18:21 warns: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and those who love it will eat its fruits.” In our anger and frustrations let us not utter cursing words against each other. People who are quick to utter words of curse have no place in the Kingdom of God.

James 3:9 carries words typical of our behaviour. It reads, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse other human beings, who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and curse”. Using our tongues, whether direct or indirectly to mock others is an affront to the Lord our God. St Paul wrote in Romans 3:3-14, “Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of snakes is on their tongue, their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness . . .” Those who speak evil of others are like swords thrust into other people’s hearts.

There are also the backbiting tongues where some people may say good things to your face, but the moment they turn away from you they begin to spread rotten things against you. Proverbs 25:23 reads: “The north wind brings forth rain; and a backbiting tongue, angry looks”. Most of us have been victims of backbiting tongues. However, we need to exercise restraint and not bite back, as God will fight on our behalf.

They’re some cliques of people who love to gossip. Their tale telling tongues are always on the loose continually engaging in the spreading of tales about others. They do not care to check whether their story details are true, unconfirmed, or false. Not only does this harm other people, but it brings injury to our relationship with God. Gossip is a common sin everywhere including in churches. He who practices slander with his tongue does evil to others. Proverbs 18:8 describes gossip: “The words of a whisperer are like delicious pieces of food or sweet drink, they go down into the inner parts of the body”. The ninth commandment of the Lord says (Exodus 20:16), “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour”. We have people who deliberately lie under oath with a view of securing a prosecution or conviction against their enemies. They manufacturer false evidence to harm the integrity of targeted victims, regardless of the consequences of their falsehoods. Lying for whatever reasons is one of the things God detests most. Proverbs 7:16-19 reads: “There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to him: Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shade innocent blood, a heart that devices wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness who breathes out lies, and a man who sows discord among brothers”.

The first on the list of the abominations hated by the Lord is haughtiness. This is to do with pride and arrogance. Proud people are full of themselves and learn little from others. Remember that whoever you are or whatever you have all came from God. Humble yourself when God uplifts you. Psalm 12:3-4 warns; “May the Lord cut off all flattering lips and the tongues that makes great boasts, those who say, ‘with our tongue we will prevail, our lips are with us; who is our master?’’’. Proverbs 27:2 also reads; “Let another person praise you, not your own mouth; from a stranger’s mouth and not your own lips”.

Flattery is one of the abominations of evil, where we praise others just because we want to get something from them as a reward. This is often referred to as hero worship to gain favours and benefits. Bootlickers with a hidden agenda are among us everywhere. The bad truth is thus suppressed to gainfully glorify others. Proverbs 28:23 advises: “He who rebukes a man will afterward find more favour than he who flatters with his tongue”.

There are also those who just don’t cease to talk, as if their tongues and lips are on automatic trigger. They never listen to others as if they don’t have ears. People without self-control of speech are like a city in ruins. They do not listen to gain advise or instruction and lack wisdom. A fool does not take pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. Those who keep their mouths and tongues in check also keep themselves out of trouble. Proverbs 17:28 adds, “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he restrains  his tongue and closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent”.

Being hasty in answering without listening or understanding is being foolhardy. St James wrote (James 1:19), “Know this my beloved brethren. Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to be angry.” People who talk too much are said to possess an overused tongue and those who are quick to answer are labelled to have ‘swift tongues’. James 3:6-8 gives a summary of the tongue; “The tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell. For, every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. The tongue is a restless evil, full of deadly poison”.

  • Prosper Tingini is the scribe for the Children of God Missionary Assembly. Contact details are: WhatsApp 0771260195 or e-mail ptingini@gmail.com

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