Looking at the surface of our tongue can reveal clues to our physical health. Color, texture, bumps, or spots can all be indicators of health issues. But listening to the words from our tongue can reveal our spiritual health. Slandering, boasting, flattering, and complaining are indicators of spiritual issues.
You may feel like you have a tight rein on your tongue in public. But what about in private? What about in your thoughts? Maybe it is just certain people that you find your words/thoughts are not gracious. Our words/thoughts reveal what is going on in our hearts which can either bring life or death to their recipients (Prov 18:21).
Let’s look at some of the heart issues that our tongues can reveal. If we find ourselves having slanderous (saying something untrue of someone that damages their reputation) words/thoughts, perhaps that person has offended us. Forgiveness may be what is the heart issue (Col 3:12-13). God can enable you to forgive. Maybe we are envious or jealous of a person so we cut them down so we can appear better. The heart issue could be an ungrateful heart for what God has given you or a prideful heart that wants to be viewed as the best. Being grateful to God for how He made you and grateful to God for how He made others helps the envy, jealousy, and pride issues (Ps 139:13-16).
How about when you find yourself boasting in your (or a family member’s) possessions, achievements, or abilities. Or maybe you talk more than others about what you think because you perceive your way as the best. Perhaps the heart issue is you want to be accepted, honored, or valued. God’s assessment is the only one that counts and He has accepted, honored, and valued you through Christ (Rom 8:1; 1 Pet 2:9).
Do you think you avoid flattering others? Have you ever said something nice to someone when deep inside you want them to like you or you want a compliment in return? This is what flattery can look like. Flattery seems equal to encouragement, but the motive is different. In an encouragement, the focus is on God and what He is doing in and through the person (Gal 2:20; Eph 4:29). Flattery is a focus on the other person in hopes of making them to be endeared to you.
Another heart issue can be uncovered when we murmur or complain. We can complain about circumstances, what other people do/don’t do, how others do things, or inconveniences others cause us. We are wanting things to be done our way or for our comfort. At the heart of complaining and murmuring, is a failure to trust in the sovereignty, goodness, and wisdom of God (Ps 115:3; Phil 2:14-16).
Our tongues can reveal health issues, but our words/thoughts can reveal spiritual issues. With what heart issue might God be revealing through your words/thoughts? When will you and I take the time to sit before God and let Him heal our hearts? Repentance and acceptance of His grace for forgiveness and transformation will be a part of the healing (1 John 1:9)!
For your consideration: Jeff Robinson Sr.’s book, Taming the Tongue: How the Gospel Transforms our Talk,Austin, TX: The Gospel Coalition, 2021.
Image accessed April 29, 2021, from https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-with-wide-open-mouth-and-tongue-out-922531/.
 “What Your Tongue Says About Your Health,” WebMD, 2019, accessed April 26, 2021, https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-tongue-your-health.