4 Principles for Taming the Tongue

Communication has existed since the beginning, and it began with God. He created everything, through his speech. He simply spoke and it all came into being.

God’s word constructs

God has always used communication to create and build, and he wants us to do likewise.

Through it he created the earth and all that is in it. He made a safe place for his creatures, provided for their needs, and set protective boundaries. There was no negativity until Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and stray from his flawless ways.

Then everything took on negative aspects, even communication. And we see these results even in Genesis’ early chapters, with blaming others, anger, evasion, and lying.

In many ways today communication has become more complex. But it still consists of the transmission of thoughts, feelings, and ideas. And the fact remains that God wants us to use communication to construct, not to tear down.

The problem is that our sinful nature leads us to use communication as a slashing weapon. Whether through speech, writing, facial expressions, or body language.

Using communication to edify

That is the issue at stake. How can we learn to use communication as a tool of edification

A good person produces good out of the good stored up in his heart. An evil person produces evil out of the evil stored up in his heart, for his mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.

Luke 6:45 CSB

Christ taught us that our speech stems from the thoughts we hold in our hearts. From our hearts comes good or evil, love or hate. Care and kindness for others, or mean-spirited treatment. I don’t think we want to be mean, uncaring people. Yet when we neglect our hearts, we risk becoming that way.

It all boils down to how we fill our hearts.

Good thoughts, words, and actions come from filling our hearts with God’s goodness. And that is key to helping us open our lips (or hit that send button) in a way that pleases the Lord.

Good thoughts, words, and actions come from filling our hearts with God’s goodness. And that is key to helping us open our lips (or hit that send button) in a way that pleases the Lord.

In moments of extreme anger or frustration, it is rare to have the presence of mind to stop and think clearly. And we risk spewing our negativity out on others.

So let’s look at 4 simple truths that can help us turn our tongues (and all communication) into building tools!

4 principles for taming the tongue

And for turning it into a positive, constructive force.

1. See others through Christ’s eyes.

By seeing them with the Lord’s eyes of abundant love, we can learn to love them the same way he does. And by having his abundant love in our hearts, real love can flow out to them. Even during difficult, unpleasant situations or strife.

2. Take in wholesome communication.

As the saying says, “Garbage in, garbage out.” Much of what is out there in films, books, TV, news, social media, and the internet is negative. Things that criticize, demean, and tear others down.

But Philippians 4:8 instructs us to think about all that is true, honorable, right, pure, and lovely. If we apply this to our lives, even our entertainment, our hearts will fill with God’s goodness. We will think lovely thoughts, even of others – and be more likely to encourage and edify, not cut down or criticize.

Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8 CSB

3. Remember Christ’s forgiveness.

Remember all the love and forgiveness he showers on us. This should help us treat others with kindness, mercy, and forgiveness.

4. View yourself in the right light.

Criticism often stems from our own pride or insecurity. By thinking ourselves superior to others, or by wanting to seem so, it’s easy to cut down others. But that only makes us look terrible, not better. And we have become unworthy people.

In Christ, we are all equal, and equally needy of him. We need to see that we are on the same plane as others. This serves as an effective leveler of both our pride and our true value. And that can grant us the ability to help others in their struggles.

So when pride or insecurity creeps in, find someone to compliment or encourage. Helping others can keep us from focusing on ourselves – and help us see that we are all in the same struggle together.

For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart. A good person produces good things from his storeroom of good, and an evil person produces evil things from his storeroom of evil.

Matthew 12:34-35 CSB
Image credits: Women by Ben White | Finger on lips by PhilM1310| Keyboard by Athree23.

15 replies on “4 Principles for Taming the Tongue”

Brilliant for the repost. This is something that we desperately need to be reminded of–more so in this toxic age where everyone feels the freedom to say what’s on their minds without thinking about who’s hearing it or how it’s being received. Well done, my friend.

Liked by 1 person

You’re not alone in that Tom! I think we all battle with our tongues. Scripture is certainly right in asking “Who can tame the tongue?” It is definitely one of the hardest things to do. We are so ready with a quick response – even when we shouldn’t be. Oh Lord, grant us greater love, patience, and self-control!

Liked by 1 person

Thank YOU, Dayle! Communication is a challenge, for sure. Our tongues are often over-active. May the Lord help us train our tongues to keep still. To become people of few words – but of words that count for something, help others, bring positive change. Only the Lord can help in this. Oh how we need him!!

Liked by 1 person

Such good points you make about controlling the tongue. What you chose for #1 certainly is key: See others through Christ’s eyes. Thank you, Sheila, for the reminder that the right perspective can change the heart, and then our words (and inflection too) will also be impacted–just as that scripture makes clear (Matthew 12:34). ( It’s a reminder I need to practice more diligently!)


Thank you so much, Nancy. You’re right, it really comes down to perspective. What we focus on will change our hearts – and therefore our bevaviour, words, inflection – everything really! And we all need to practice this more diligently!


A topic that continues to confound us all–followers of Jesus and those who choose not to. We’re so impacted by words or the world that what goes through our minds too often is garbage. Thanks for these wonderful insights. You’re thinking is spot on.

Liked by 1 person

Thanks Dayle. Our tongues sure can get the best of sometimes, can’t they? The thought that they come out of the abundance of our heart just really spoke to me. If I’m having a hard time managing my words, it’s likely because I’m not managing my heart well. I want to do better at guarding my heart!


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