The Tongue Rule Challenge

horse's tongue

Of all the people in the world, Christians should use words more skillfully than anyone.

Ephesians 4:29 (GNB)

Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed, so that what you say will do good to those who hear you.

Sadly, we have a reputation for speaking against things rather than for. Frankly, we are often known for negativity.

Positive speech, in some Christians circles, seems like a sin. We go so far as to suggest that railing against something indicates strength and holiness. In reality, tearing down is unbiblical, misguided, and weak.

Yes, there are exceptions. Jesus hammered the religious elite. If you’re inclined to fight, attack denominational leaders who choose law over grace. Call them pretty coffins full of dried up bones.

But, the tongue rule may be a better option.

The tongue rule:

“Only open your mouth to make something better.”

Other than that, be quiet.

Even if you’re pointing out a problem, only point it out so you can explore how to make it better.

Sounds simple enough. But, James, the brother of Jesus said,

But no one has ever been able to tame the tongue. It is evil and uncontrollable, full of deadly poison. James 3:8 (GNB)

Developing a graceful tongue:

If you enjoy challenges, adopt the tongue rule challenge.

  1. It’s a journey.
  2. Receive and enjoy God’s favor.
  3. Treat others the way God treats you.
  4. Find some friends who are on the “tongue taming” journey with you.
  5. Start again after you screw up. Grace is beginning again, again.
  6. Talk less. But, realize silence isn’t the goal, building up is.
  7. Only speak to make things better.
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2 Comments on “The Tongue Rule Challenge”

  1. Marc Says:

    Excellent – and useful for me. Thank you.
    One other useful guideline from James…A fountain can’t produce both good and bitter water. Therefore, saying and doing things that aren’t loving in the name of doing good is “earthly, sensual, and devilish”. One can “rebuke, censure, and exhort”, as Paul told Timothy, by doing so in love.
    Harsh words are never right. Reproof may strike to the quick, as when Nathan rebuked David, but that rebuke should never be given with meanness.
    Another useful test is to “remove the beam from our own eyes before removing the speck from that of others”. Christ did not say it was wrong to remove the speck – but the only valid criticism is that of a sinner saved by grace who humbly tells his/her erring friend of the Savior’s grace.


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