Controlling the tongue is the most important way you can show your faith to the world. James 1:26 says, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.” The tongue can bring joy or condemnation.
James is notorious for speaking about the tongue and the consequences of using the tongue to tear others apart. He begins to talk about the tongue in this verse by exposing the hypocrisy of those who say they are religious but cannot control the tongue. I see this everywhere. I have been around many people who claim God and religion when it works for them, but then use their tongue to curse and tear others down. It seems that their tongue ruins any kind of witness they had. James talks more about this in 3:7-10: “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth.” With our mouths we can bless and curse. We have to be careful and make sure we are blessing and encouraging others.
I know I am not innocent from living this way from time to time. I think we are all guilty of this. However, we must be careful to make sure that we are always seeking to speak with grace and love rather than tearing others down.