That Ugly Tongue

For some time now, we have had a beef tongue in our freezer. My wife was reluctant to cook it, much less consume it. OK, she outright refused! Since I am a thrifty (miserly?) person, I was hesitant to throw the tongue away. I thought that someday I would cook it and eat it myself. I have never had beef tongue, but I am usually quite willing to try new things.

Finally, my window of opportunity arrived. My wife was going to be out of town for a few days, so I took the tongue out of the freezer to thaw. I would cook it and eat it while she was away. It seemed like the perfect plan.

However, when it came time to get down to business, I just couldn’t do it. I looked at that monstrous tongue and I couldn’t imagine eating it. No part of me even wanted to prepare it, much less consume it. I threw the ugly tongue away.

The Bible often warns us that the human tongue can be quite ugly. Many of the Proverbs teach against the improper use of the tongue. James 3:1-12 is a lengthy passage that depicts the danger of a tongue out of control. It likens the untamed tongue to a spark that sets a great forest on fire. Careless words can do a catastrophic amount of damage. James 3:8 says that the tongue “…is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”

Some people are quick to point out the sins of others, but, ironically, they don’t realize that their gossiping tongue puts them on the same biblical “sin list” as the people they abhor! Romans 1 warns against many kinds of deviant sins, one of which is gossip (v.29). 1 Corinthians 6:9-11 contains a list of sins that will keep people out of the kingdom of God if that is their unrepentant lifestyle. Notice that “slanderers” is on that list. If you don’t want to spend eternity with some truly awful people, you had better be careful not to have an ugly tongue!

James 1:26 says, “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” If you want to have a valuable faith in Jesus Christ, you can’t have an ugly tongue!


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