With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3:9-10 (NIV)
We’ve all said things we regret. This is often when we are tired or stressed and it usually involves something of little consequence.
The verses above from James chapter 3 remind us that our mouths can be used for good or bad purposes. We can either praise God and as a result build up those around us by speaking appropriately, or we can be negative in our attitudes and instead of praising God we can curse the people around us. The words we use give a very strong indication of what is going on in our hearts.
I think what is being spoken of here is hypocrisy. What we profess (to be a Christian) should match what we do and say. However, as James is writing to a Christian audience we can assume that even Christians are not immune to saying the wrong thing. Despite this, the encouragement is to seek to control the tongue (mouth). How can this be done? Later in chapter 3 James says:
‘… the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.’ James 3:17 (NIV)
If we seek to allow God to develop these characteristics in our lives, we would be putting other people’s needs before our own and we would be less likely to ‘curse’ others.