Sins of the Mouth

Glendol McClure

The mouth serves at least two purposes:

   1. To take in air, food, and water, three things essential to our physical well being.

   2. To communicate with others.

Throughout time, people have used their mouths for slander, profanity, perjury, blasphemy, lying, promotion and defense of error and wrong, seduction, gluttony, satisfaction of lusts, and on and on we could go. Who can measure the danger of an unbridled tongue or the consequences of a gluttonous heart? Commentator Albert Barnes wrote, “If all men were dumb, what portion of the crimes of the world would soon cease! If all men would speak only that which ought to be spoken, what a change would come over the face of human affairs!” Of the tongue, James wrote, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell” (Jas. 3:6). If we all used our mouths righteously, this world would be a much better place.

With regard to the proper use of the mouth, Jesus is our example. Peter wrote of Jesus, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously” (1 Pet. 2:21-23). Inasmuch as Jesus “did no sin...neither was guile fond in his mouth,” and when reviled he “reviled not again,” we can know that Jesus had a righteous mouth.

Likewise, Christians must have righteous mouths. The Christian’s mouth must not be used for:

Whispering, backbiting and gossip! Countless families, friendships, and marriages have been troubled and even destroyed by evil use of the tongue. Congregations have divided, and brethren who engage in such talk have sowed seeds of discord. Paul warned the Corinthians when he wrote, “For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults” (2 Cor. 12:20).

Lying! Revelation 21:8 reveals the liar’s doom: “But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Included are the so-called, “little white lies.” There are liars in every country, at every government level, in every nook and cranny of this great earth and even in the Lord’s church. Paul commanded the Colossians, “Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds” (Col. 3:9). False teachers are liars!

The disobedient person is a liar, for John wrote, “And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him” (1 Jn. 2:3, 4).

Lustful desires! The smoker, chewer, snuff dipper, consumer of alcoholic beverages, and the gluttonous use the mouth to satisfy the lusts of the flesh is condemned by God’s word. Jesus’ enemies falsely accused him of being “a man gluttonous, and a winebibber,” but Jesus “did no sin” (Matt. 11:19; Lk. 7:34; 1 Pet. 2:22). This unrighteous use of the mouth has plagued mankind throughout the ages. “If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who will not obey the voice of his father or the voice of his mother, and who, when they have chastened him, will not heed them, then his father and his mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his city, to the gate of his city. And they shall say to the elders of his city, ‘This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious; he will not obey our voice; he is a glutton and a drunkard’” (Deut. 21:18-20).

Jesus said, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (carousing-NKGV), and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man” (Lk. 21:34-36).

Filthy and foolish talk! Countless individuals engage in filthy, foolish talk and take the Lord’s name in vain, which the Bible condemns (Ex. 20:7; Deut. 5:11).

Paul wrote, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth” (Col. 3:8). Paul commanded Titus to speak “things which become sound doctrine" and to use "sound speech, that cannot be condemned” (Tit. 2:2, 8) Our speech should “always be with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col.4:6).

Peter wrote, “If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pet. 4:11). Please notice that Peter wrote, “If any man speak...” How does your speech compare with these passages from God’s holy book?

Conclusion: How do you use your mouth? Is your mouth used for righteous or unrighteous? Let us heed the words of the Psalmist, who wrote, “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer” (Psa.19:14).