Since God created words and gave them to us to be used according to his
standard and design, why do we have such a difficult time speaking as he intended? As with all our other sin, we look back to that fateful day in the Garden of Eden when Satan spoke (Genesis 3). "Into the perfect world of the Garden came the voice of the Serpent. For the first time, the position, the authority, and the very words of God were being challenged. For the first time, words were not consistent with God's standard and design. Satan spoke, and with his words the simple world of human communication became a confusing arena of sin and struggle. All of our trouble with talk has its roots here, in this dramatic moment of change in the Garden." (p. 20) Our communication legacy is now one including lies and deceit, false interpretations of life, and blame against God and mankind. No longer do we only reflect the image of God, but we also reflect the image of the Serpent.
The book of James says that "the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. . .no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." (James 3:5-10)
There is a battle raging within us that manifests itself in the words we speak. Our words flow from the abundance of our hearts, and, when we speak, we are either imaging our Creator and Lord or we are imaging Satan. There is no neutrality. That is a sobering thought! But there is hope in the gospel! We are not left without help. His grace is sufficient to forgive us and deliver us from the sins of our hearts that flow to our tongues.
Next chapter: The Word in the Flesh