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Monday, March 20, 2017

Sins we can commit with our tongues

In spite of the title of this post, we aren't really capable of sinning with our tongues. Our heart, our brain, our character, commits sins, some of which are expressed by the tongue. (And also, in the 21st Century, by texting, e-mail, blogs, in print, and through social media.) As Jesus put it: Matt 15:18 But the things which proceed out of the mouth come out of the heart, and they defile the man.19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, sexual sins, thefts, false testimony, and blasphemies. (All Bible quotations from the World English Bible, which is public domain.)
Note that the latter two are sins expressed by the tongue. The others, not so much. But all of them "come out of the heart."

There are some "tongue sins" mentioned in Scripture. Two of them are from the Ten Commandments:

Exodus 20:7 You shall not misuse the name of Yahweh your God, for Yahweh will not hold him guiltless who misuses his name. (There is a text note in the WEB, as follows: or, You shall not take the name of Yahweh your God in vain.)


16 You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. 

The first of these two would seem to indicate that careless use (is there any other kind?) of "OMG," or what that abbreviation stands for, is sinful. Perhaps a more serious violation of that commandment would be to claim that God wants someone to do (or not do) something, when that action, or inaction, is not really of God. Perhaps most of the Crusades were examples of such misuse of God's name, for example.

As to false testimony, probably most lying is also sinful. (But see "Lying, deceit and dishonesty in the Bible," which points out a few examples where God seemed to have condoned verbal deceit. In no case did God condone such deceit where it was to the unfair advantage of the deceiver over others, or where it was to escape a deserved penalty.) When in doubt, I should tell the truth, especially under oath.

Mat 5:22 says that we aren't to call anyone a fool. That would seem to include co-workers, family members, politicians that we disagree with, as well as others.

Paul warns against foolish talk in Ephesians 4:29 and 5:4. James 3:10 says that we shouldn't curse. Jesus said that we should not swear, but just speak the truth - Mat 5:37. See also James 5:12.

Gossip is idle talk or rumor, especially about the personal or private affairs of others … (Wikipedia) See Romans 1:29, 2 Corinthians 12:20, 1 Timothy 5:13.

Slander is a false or malicious claim that may harm someone's reputation. (Wikipedia) See Matthew 15:19, Ephesians 4:31, Colossians 3:8, Psalm 101:5

There are other ways that we can sin with the tongue. One is to express pride in ourselves, or those in our family or group, to the low-rating of others. Another is that our talk may be overly self-centered, because we are overly self-centered. I can't document this, but someone said that there was a study done on phone conversations, and the word "I" occurred more often that any other. If I'm self-centered, I don't listen much, or at all. Using our tongue too much, when we should be attentively using our ears, can be sinful.

Enough of what we shouldn't do. What should we use our tongue for? 
David said:
Psalm 15:1 Yahweh, who shall dwell in your sanctuary?
Who shall live on your holy hill?
He who walks blamelessly and does what is right,
and speaks truth in his heart;
he who doesn’t slander with his tongue,
nor does evil to his friend,
nor casts slurs against his fellow man;
in whose eyes a vile man is despised,
but who honors those who fear Yahweh;
he who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and doesn’t change . . .
Isaiah 50:The Lord Yahweh has given me the tongue of those who are taught,
that I may know how to sustain with words him who is weary
It seems that the Bible teaches that the worst sin of the tongue is not any of those mentioned above. Rather, the worst sin of the tongue is failing to praise God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit for who He is and what He has done. 

There are at least two hundred passages in the Bible about praising God. A few of them are below.

Revelation is a book that is difficult to interpret. But one thing seems clear. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is to be praised:

Revelation 15:3 They sang the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying,

“Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God, the Almighty!
Righteous and true are your ways, you King of the nations.
Who wouldn’t fear you, Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you only are holy.
For all the nations will come and worship before you.
For your righteous acts have been revealed.”
Luke 19:36 As he went, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was now getting near, at the descent of the Mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works which they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest!”
39 Some of the Pharisees from the multitude said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”
40 He answered them, “I tell you that if these were silent, the stones would cry out.”
Hebrews 13:15 Through him, then, let’s offer up a sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of lips which proclaim allegiance to his name.
Acts 2:46 Day by day, continuing steadfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. The Lord added to the assembly day by day those who were being saved.
Luke 23:46 Jesus, crying with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” Having said this, he breathed his last. 47 When the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, “Certainly this was a righteous man.”
There's plenty of praise in the Psalms, such as:
Psalm 100:4 Enter into his gates with thanksgiving,
and into his courts with praise.
Give thanks to him, and bless his name.
For Yahweh is good.
His loving kindness endures forever,
his faithfulness to all generations.
Here's the last of the Psalms, in its entirety:
Psalm 150:1 Praise Yah!
Praise God in his sanctuary!
Praise him in his heavens for his acts of power!
Praise him for his mighty acts!
Praise him according to his excellent greatness!
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet!
Praise him with harp and lyre!
Praise him with tambourine and dancing!
Praise him with stringed instruments and flute!
Praise him with loud cymbals!
Praise him with resounding cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise Yah!
Praise Yah!
May my tongue be an expression of my integrity, uplift others, and praise God. Thanks for reading!

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