On a windswept hill in an English country churchyard stands a drab, gray slate tombstone. It leans slightly to one side, beaten slick and thin by the blast of time. The stone bears an epitaph not easily seen unless you stoop over and look closely. It reads: BENEATH THIS STONE, A LUMP OF CLAY, LIES ARABELLA YOUNG, WHO ON THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF MAY BEGAN TO HOLD HER TONGUE. To the physician the tongue is merely a two-ounce slab of membrane enclosing a complex array of muscles and nerves that enable our bodies to chew, taste, swallow.
It is also the major organ of communication that enables us to articulate distinct sounds so we can understand each other. Without the tongue no mother could sing here baby to sleep. No ambassador could adequately represent his nation. No teacher could stretch the minds of students. No officer could lead his men into battle. No attorney could defend his client. No pastor could preach the Word of God. Our entire world would be reduced to unintelligible grunts and shrugs. Seldom do we pause to realize just how valuable this hidden muscle in our mouth really is. (Take from Charles R. Swindoll, Growing strong in the seasons of life; page 21).
The tongue is as volatile as it is vital. James, the half-brother of Jesus wrote: “The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity” (James 3:6). Yep, it can be a lethal, flaming missile which assaults with hellish power, blistering and destroying at will. And yet it doesn’t look anything like the cold deadly barbarian that it is. Neatly hidden behind ivory palace gates, its movements are an intriguing study all by itself.
It can curl itself either into a foxy whistle or manipulate a lazy afternoon yawn. It can flick a husk of popcorn from between two teeth or hold a thermometer just right. It can help to enjoy the flavor of a peppermint stick as it switches from side to side without once getting nipped. But watch out! Just let your finger get smashed or your toe get clobbered and that slippery muscle in your mouth will suddenly play the flip side of its nature. It will shock the senses of the most disciplined persons.
Again, James writes: “The tongue no man can tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceeds blessings and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:8-10).
Many have offered their counsel on how to keep the tongue under control, but the slippery thing just won’t behave itself. It is a world all to its own. And since our tongue is directly hardwired to our mind it speaks in behalf of our mind. Therefore, the tongue can only be brought under control when the mind is controlled. Some recommend pharmaceuticals, others therapy, but the true lasting change is evident when Christ enters our hearts. - J. C. is pastor of Joy Christian Ministries W. Sac.
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.