Sins of the tongue are among the most commonly mentioned sins in the Bible. Sins of the tongue are among the most commonly committed sins among mankind. It is so easy to slip up and say something untrue, unkind, unnecessary, yet, hurtful.
Some years ago the operator of the public address system was aggravated because the speaker was dragging his feet in getting started. In his impatience he said: "Go ahead you old goat." He did not realize that his own microphone was on, full volume. The whole congregation heard the words distinctly and laughter filled the auditorium. The "goat" heard it too and joined in the laughter in a good natured way. Many humorous incidents have occurred through the years where someone forgot that a portable microphone was still on. Some not so humorous incidents have also occurred where something unkind was said and unintentionally broadcast via a live microphone. I know of a recent incident where one individual sent email to another person, sharply criticizing a third party, and the email was accidently carbon copied to that third party. It was an embarrassing incident.
If we knew that our words spoken about another person were going to be broadcast to the whole church, would we speak differently? Would we tone down the rhetoric? Would we be less prone to jump to conclusions? Would we criticize less? Would we be less judgmental? Would we be more positive than negative? Would we look for the good rather than search in hopes of finding the evil? I think so. What we need to remember is that the microphone is always on with God. While other people may not hear our words, God always hears them--and he even hears our thoughts.
"I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Mt. 12:36-37).
Let us be more careful about what we think and what we say. Is it true? It is needful? Is it kind? Is it helpful? "Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone" (Col. 4:6).