I once read about a man who put a rock in his mouth to stop himself from speaking without thinking. Maybe he was on to something. Few parts of the Bible make me squirm more than James chapter 3, where the human tongue is called a fire, a restless evil, a tiny thing full of deadly poison. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness” (James 3:9).
A world of evil balances on the tip of my tongue. In my Christian classroom, I can somehow manage to simultaneously praise the Good Shepherd and belittle his misbehaving sheep. In church, my tongue no sooner finishes with the final hymn before longing to restlessly wag over my fellow redeemed in the pews—where was she all last month? At the smallest invitation to gossip, I draw back my bow and release words like poisonous darts—why can’t he just follow through on a commitment? At home, I can start a blazing fire by dropping a few choice verbal sparks.
I should just start the day with a rock on my tongue. No. Not a rock. My Rock. My Redeemer. In God’s Word and promises, I find Christ’s forgiveness. The Spirit’s power. The desire to pray with King David: “May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Psalm 19:14).
Before I allow my tongue to speak, I can put my Rock on it.