10 Tips for Taming the Tongue (And the Thumbs)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.” – James 1:5

1. Admit you need help

Taming the tongue (or your thumbs) isn’t easy. We all struggle with saying or typing things we regret. The first thing you have to do is to admit that your words and your texts sometimes get the best of you.

2. Pray about it daily

Psalm 141:3-4 says, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Do not let my heart be drawn to what is evil so that I take part in wicked deeds along with those who are evildoers; do not let me eat their delicacies.”

Pray that God will help you protect your mind from not just the words you struggle with, but the thoughts behind the word.

3. Confess it and move on

Because you will mess up. It’s important that you take your words seriously. When you find yourself struggling, don’t just blow it off or try to justify it. Our words are serious. Even when we speak the truth, we need to speak the truth in love. When you’ve realized you’ve said the wrong thing, go apologize! Lead in humility. You can’t take back the words you’ve already said, but you can say, “Hey, I messed that up. I’m sorry.” And then, move on.

4. Seek accountability

Many of you already do this. Before you fire off a text or email that may have a bite to it, send that message to a mentor or running partner. Somebody that you trust spiritually. Ask them, How does this sound? How is this coming across?”

5. Practice speaking life

Ask God to help you with your thoughts and words that will honor Him and further His purposes. Your tongue is incredibly powerful. A single phrase from your mouth has the power to build or destroy a person.

Ephesians 4:29 says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 

6. Don’t say through typing what you wouldn’t say in person

Our keyboards and phones have a way of shielding us from the realities of our words. Our distance can numb us from the reality that somebody is receiving the message on the other side in a personal way. If you wouldn’t say it to a person’s face, don’t say it in a text, a message, or a voicemail.

And if your first reaction is – “I would say it in person!” see all the bullets before this and run it through those filters

7. If you can’t read it in front of your spouse (or significant other), don’t send it and check your heart.

For those who are married or want to be, did you know over 50% of all divorce filings have the words “Facebook,” “Instagram,” or another social media involved? Often, it is because an emotional connection that started as “harmless” goes way too far. For those who are married, if the two of you don’t have access to each other’s accounts, that could be a BIG problem.

8. If you can’t read it out loud in church, don’t text or post it

At Gateway, one of our values is “Come as You Are.” Some of you come a little less filtered than others :). That is okay. It’s one of the beautiful things about God’s church at Gateway. We welcome you here. The general principle remains true. As a Christ follower do these words represent Jesus well to those around me? Or if you’re exploring faith still– would a person of good character say this?

9. Make sure it’s an appropriate time and place

We should not expect to offer or receive 24-hour access to everybody around us. We should practice putting our phones away and setting up boundaries. It’s amazing what a break from calls and texts, phone notifications, and social media can do for your mental health. Don’t that frustrated email or text to a coworker at 9pm. Likewise, don’t check your work messages just because you’re bored at 5am.

10. Don’t respond in anger or over a distance

Conflict is inevitable. When we do find ourselves in a heated situation, don’t respond with the first thing that pops into your head. It’s likely an emotionally charged reaction and we need time to cool off. Don’t just fire off a reactionary text. Digital communication can feel so easy, but there are so many things that get missed when you are not face to face. Go to the person you have a conflict with and talk it out. Make sure you address the topic while speaking life into the other person. You are here to respond in love, not to prove you are right.

Related Message

Speaker: Carlos Ortiz