It seems Donald Trump’s popularity fluctuates in the polls according to the last thing he said. He, like most of us, can suffer from that affliction called “diarrhea of the mouth.” Of course if you’re a Trump hater, you feel he can never say anything right. On the other hand, those of us who believe the president most often has a handle on the agenda that is good for the good ole USA can at least put up with his frequent slippages of the tongue.
How many times have you said, after reading a Trump tweet, “Why did he have to say that!” The president, like every other red-blooded human, can effectively ruin his most advantageous move by speaking before he thinks. Unfortunately, he appears to allow no one to view his latest tweet to determine what the outcome might be. I wouldn’t want to be White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders… So often it is apparent Mr. Trump doesn’t care what anyone thinks, be they Democrat or Republican. After all, The Donald really isn’t either.
Spanning the Globe with Blessing and Cursing
We live in a most virulent age where what we think can be articulated and span the globe in a matter of minutes – or even seconds. News is old after five minutes, and we want to know more. In such a sophisticated technological time, control of The Tongue takes on greater importance than ever before in the history of our planet. People, especially kids, bash each other on Facebook or Twitter and care nothing about who it hurts. Both these media are useful tools but can be highly destructive. Media coverage of anything sparks unending debate over what’s ethical, moral and correct. Overall wisdom is in short supply as people act on gut instinct and react to what someone else said without fact checking.
According to one TV group, “While many mainstream media outlets have cried foul over Donald Trump targeting outlets as “failing” or peddling “fake news,” that sentiment is largely shared by a majority of Americans.
Trust in the Media at an All-Time Low
In its annual confidence poll, Gallup found that Americans’ trust in the mass media “to report the news fully, accurately and fairly” reached its lowest level in polling history, with only 32 percent saying they have a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media. Trust in the establishment media did not begin with the contentious 2016 election and Donald Trump taking the stage, but after a steady decline over the past 20 years, it took its deepest dive yet, led by Republicans deep distrust of mass media.
Gallup: “Americans’ Trust in Mass Media Sinks to New Low.” Now at 32% fueled by Republican slide to 14%. On the campaign trail, Trump maintained a combative relationship with the press, but received roaring applause from his supporters when he referred to the “dishonest media,” and sniped at the anchors, pundits, reporters and editorial boards who he said were treating him “very unfairly.”
I hold two degrees in communications, which contained a lot of journalism courses, and I’d say in my early years I believed journalists at least attempted to be objective. It was supposed to be one of the standards by which they operated. Today, I fear there is so much lying, phony coverage, and frankly, downright pitching for whatever brings in the almighty dollar, that so-called “objectivity” has gone the way of the Dodo bird. The question is are these people any worse than anyone else who does the same things day in and day out in their businesses or even churches? Certainly because of journalists and broadcasters’ widespread coverage their impact is greater.
The Bible is clear concerning the tongue; it can be extremely evil if filled with the wrong expressions. As a matter of fact, Scripture tells us, “No one can tame the tongue.” It is deadly poison and promises to wreak havoc on all – no matter who – is clacking it:
James 3: 2-12 (NLT) spells it out very clearly: “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.[b] 7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.”
So spiritual maturity, according to the Bible, is largely determined by keeping the tongue in check. So few do this, and it’s pretty obvious when you listen to everyday conversations where the one speaking is unable or doesn’t care to control his or her tongue. Recently, the TV show, The View, got 25,000 complaints because this panel of women decided that Vice President Pence was loony because he said he hears from Jesus! These women should read the Bible where it often talks of God speaking to His family. For example, Jesus said quite plainly, “My sheep know my voice, and they follow me” (John 10:27). The Bible was written by people who HEARD God! If you don’t believe that, why bother reading the Bible at all? If it was written by human beings doing the best they could, we’re in trouble. Their opinions would be no better than ours!
This blessing and cursing business is amazing in the sense that control of the tongue, without God’s help through His Holy Spirit, is useless. In a matter of a few seconds, we can go from praising God to calling people the foulest names imaginable. Either that or we find ourselves chiefly critical of everything, even of the best people among us. Incidentally, cursing in the Bible includes the following meanings:
To utter a wish of evil against one; to imprecate evil upon; to call for mischief or injury to fall upon; to execrate.
To injure; to subject to evil; to vex, harass or torment with great calamities.
Malediction; the expression of a wish of evil to another.
Here are just a few scriptures on the damage the tongue can do:
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”
1 Peter 3:10 “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.”
James 1:26 “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”
Proverbs 12:18 “There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Proverbs 15:4 “A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”
Billy Graham “Evil”?
For example, a columnist for Teen Vogue magazine, Lauren Duca, immediately following Billy Graham’s death, called him “evil,” and she said she hoped he was “enjoying hell.” Here’s a godly man, with no scandals to speak of and who had served God by preaching the gospel to the world, referred to as “evil.” This kind of vitriol reminds me of what the Scripture says concerning a time when people will call evil good and good evil. We are there:
Isaiah 5:20 (CEB) “Doom to those who call evil good and good evil, who present darkness as light and light as darkness, who make bitterness sweet and sweetness bitter.”
In other words, what should be viewed by right thinking people as upright and good is dumped in favor of that which is debased and vile. This kind of madness is the hallmark of our media that often gives coverage to politicians and Hollywood who seemed to have moved away from any common sense to absurdity in their thinking. Romans chapter 1 says when people refuse to acknowledge God as creator He turns them over to a reprobate mind. In other words, they’re given a spirit of stupidity! I realize not everyone falls into this category but only those who have set their hearts on rejecting the Spirit of God. There are obviously many decent men and women in the media who do their best report the news fairly and honestly.
Two scriptures come to mind:
“To the pure all things are pure; but to those being defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure. Instead, both their mind and conscience are defiled” (Titus 1:15 Berean Literal Bible).
13 Who among you is wise and intelligent? Let him by his good conduct show his [good] deeds with the gentleness and humility of true wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not be arrogant, and [as a result] be in defiance of the truth. 15 This [superficial] wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly (secular), natural (unspiritual), even demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice. 17 But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile]. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness (spiritual maturity) is sown in peace by those who make peace [by actively encouraging goodwill between individuals]. But the wisdom from above is first pure [morally and spiritually undefiled], then peace-loving [courteous, considerate], gentle, reasonable [and willing to listen], full of compassion and good fruits. It is unwavering, without [self-righteous] hypocrisy [and self-serving guile]. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness (spiritual maturity) is sown in peace by those who make peace [by actively encouraging goodwill between individuals]. (James 3:13-18 Amp).
Two Kinds of Wisdom:
Note the attributes of “wisdom” that come from the earthly side of man (even that which is demonic), is “earthly (secular), natural (unspiritual), even demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder [unrest, rebellion] and every evil thing and morally degrading practice.” This superficial wisdom generates selfish ambition, disorder, rebellion and morally degrading behavior.
Believing in and practicing godly wisdom produces the opposite kind of behavior in whom this wisdom is “sown.” This doesn’t include every Christian but only those who are willing to let go of their own so-called wisdom and learn to walk in heavenly wisdom as directed through the Bible and with a daily walk with the Author of The Book.
Living in the Crazies
Like it or not, we’re living in a brilliant but messed up age where common sense is not that common. As a matter of fact, common sense seems to offend most people who have decided they know best. Some of the most insane knowledge and philosophy are descending from those ivory towers of learning we call universities. It seems ignorance is regarded as deeper truth. Most of it is worth ignoring because if you pay close attention, you’ll find yourself in a spinning cocoon of stress, as you listen to today’s commentators, with the exception of a few. Peace with God is the precious price of lengthy hours of solitude.
In essence, consider the following quotes:
- Silence is a source of great strength.
- Wise men are not always silent, but they know when to be.
- God is the best listener. You don’t need to shout nor cry out loud because He hears even the silent prayer of a sincere heart!
And last a few verses:
Lamentations 3:25-26 The LORD is good to those who wait for him, to the person who searches for him. It is good to hope and wait patiently for the LORD’s salvation.
Psalm 27:14 Wait on the LORD: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the LORD.
Psalm 62:5-6 My soul, wait in silence for God only, For my hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
The tongue can be used to bring life or death through its expressions. I prefer life; how about you?
Joseph Beckham is the author of Overcoming Bipolar Disorder & Other Mental Difficulties: A Christian Perspective.
Joe is also the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls – http://amzn.com/1493781286