by DanWolgemuth on April 19, 2024

I was on my feet on Saturday night at Colorado Community Church, when we repeated, in unison, the classic liturgy of confession. “I have sinned… in thought, word and deed.”

At the moment, I resisted the opportunity to specifically name what needed to be named. It was a general confession. A blanket admission. The kind of confession that none of us like to hear at a personal level… “If I’ve hurt you, or offended you in any way, I’m sorry.”

And yet, in God’s mercy, He has gently, but clearly pointed the spotlight of His holiness and love on a few key areas. He’s done this, most predominantly through some of the scripture reading I’ve gone through since Saturday night.

Specifically, I landed in James 1, verse 26. And I didn’t like it much…

If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (ESV)

At first, when I read this verse, my mind raced to a list of names that I rapidly assembled. Perhaps you’ve just followed a similar path. I’m guessing that if we compared lists, we’d have some overlap. Tongues out of control.


Then, on closer inspection, my list shorted, to me.

My unbridled tongue.

Not on public display, and most generally in more subtle ways, but a deceived heart that masks the depth of my own sin and pride.

Sometimes my renegade tongue shows up in sarcasm. At other times, it’s a witty statement about someone I consider an enemy. Still other times it’s in the front seat of my vehicle when I feel the personal affront of another reckless driver. And sometimes, it’s in the careless use of details surrounding a story I’m telling.

What I give my lips permission to speak, reveals the freedom I give my heart to judge. My lips don’t create a message, they reveal it. And at times, it’s not pretty.

Polite, maybe. Acceptable in the circles I’m in, maybe. But unbridled. Borderless and boundaryless thoughts and ideas. Tongues without constraint. Given permission through recklessly self-righteous justification.

“They deserve it.”
“They had it coming.”
“If I don’t say it, who will?”
“It improves the story, who cares if it’s not completely accurate.”

It is the apostle Paul who reminds us that we are not victims of our thoughts, of our language, or of our schemes. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit gives us the power to hold these thoughts captive…

We demolish arguments and every proud thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, and we take every thought captive to obey Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:5, CSB)

We demolish.
We take every thought captive.

It’s time to stop making excuses for reckless words. It’s time to stop allowing our lips to violate what Christ commissions.

I confess. I repent. I commit. I claim.

Higher ground. Lips that speak what Jesus instructed. My heart first. My lips next.

Anyone else care to join me?

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