Taming the Tongue 20 Nov 16

The tongue has an incredible power that needs to be controlled. With our tongue, we can gossip, slander, inflict pain, or we can encourage, praise, and bring healing. Join us as we look at some practical ways to tame the tongue.

Opening Video: How to Lose at Arguing with Your Wife


The Power of the Tongue:

  1. It can steer things much greater than itself.
  2. It is like an uncontrollable fire.
  3. It is an untameable beast.
  4. It is a paradox.


Tongue Taming Lessons:

  • Our words should heal instead of hurt.
  • Think before you speak.
  • Hold yourself to the same standard of speech that you set for others.
  • Speak only words that you would say if Jesus was in the room.

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TEXT:  James 3:1-12

  1. Do the “Mad Lib” leaders were given (‘I’m Thankful For…’) with the group or go to http://www.madglibs.com to find another option.
  2. You can also have the group take a minute or two to think about the last week and whether they did any of the following:
    • Bragged about yourself
    • Lied
    • Gossiped
    • Talked bad about someone
    • Cursed
    • Shaded the truth
    • Argued
    • Yelled
    • Was Sarcastic
  3. There is no doubt that words carry a lot of power in them.  How easy is it to say something before you have thought about it?  If you “dare,” share some of your most memorable/embarrassing moments where your words got you into trouble.
  4. James writes in 3:1-2 that “not many of you should become teachers,” i.e. teachers of the Bible.   Why do you think he starts this passage about “taming the tongue” with this kind of warning?
  5. Read James 3:3-5.  Have the group raise their hand if they’ve ever ridden a horse or driven a boat. Has anyone ever had an accident that caused damage while riding a horse or driving a boat? These stories prove that a bit or a rudder, though small, command great power. It’s rare that you hear of someone ‘steering’ a horse or a boat in a threatening way, and yet the results can still be damaging. How do these two examples apply to the damage we can cause when we use our tongues?
  6. Read James 3:6.  James ramps it up a notch in 3:6 when he writes that the tongue is “set on fire by hell.”  What does this say about the nature and effect of the words that come from our mouth?
  7. Read James 3:7-8.  Why is the tongue so difficult to control?  What are some of the safeguards and measures you can put in place to make sure that your words don’t get out of control?
  8. Read James 3:9-12. What paradox of the tongue is James is talking about? What are some of the ways the tongue can be used for good and to bring glory to God? As a group, find a scripture that reminds you to speak carefully and commit to memorizing it (e.g., Psalm 19:14; Proverbs 15:1; Ephesians 4:29).
  9. Using what you have learned in the discussion, what are some practical tools you can use to avoid evil speech? Challenge each other this week to:
    • Choose words that heal instead of hurt.
    • Think before you speak.
    • Hold yourself to that same standard of speech that you set for others.
    • Say only those things you would say if Jesus was in the room with you.

For Further Study:

Read Matthew 12:33-37.   How does Jesus describe the relationship between the heart and the mouth? What are the consequences of our words?


Daily Bible Readings for the week of 11/20/2016:

Day 1: James 3:1-12

Day 2: James 3:13-18

Day 3: Matthew 12:33-37

Day 4: Proverbs 12:18

Day 5: Ephesians 4:29

Day 6: Proverbs 15:1

Day 7: Psalm 19:14

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