Pastoral Letter 26 May 2019
My dear readers,
Possessing a Medicinal Tongue! (Prov 15:4)
The tongue has always been depicted as a fire burning up large forests. Seldom is the tongue being paralleled as a doctor or medicine that can heal and bring great blessings! This is the power of the tongue. It has been described in Scriptures in so many ways to help children of God to be mindful and pay extreme care how their tongue ought to be used.
One of the wonderful ways is found in Proverbs 15:4.
Like a Tree of Life – The tongue is like a tree of life if it is wholesome. By itself it is not wholesome. The tongue of a child of God can be wholesome. The word “wholesome” literally means “a medicine” or figuratively “a cure.” The tongue is used here to mean the words that come out of the child of God. An unbeliever does not possess such a power to cure because the words here refer to the Word of God. It is not just the memorization and regurgitation of the Word of God by a person with photographic memory. It is the understanding and explanation of the pertinent Word of God to the right person to help him out of a difficult situation.
For example, a cantankerous Christian wife and her Christian husband, who has been committing adultery for months, approach another Christian for help. What would the wholesome tongue say? Would telling the wife to stop being quarrelsome so as not to drive her husband into the arms of another woman be considered wholesome advice? This is definitely bad advice because the wife is being blamed for the husband’s adultery. The husband will use the wife as an excuse for his adultery and to remain in it until the wife changes! There is no justification for all iniquities if there is no true repentance. The broken marriage is the fault of both the husband and the wife. But the sin of adultery committed by the husband is his own fault entirely! There is no justification for adultery!
In Psalm 51:2-4
when King David repented of his sin of adultery, he blamed no one but himself:“ Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.”
[Emphasis added] As long as the husband is given the excuse that he can blame his wife, he will continue in his adultery! The biblical advice is that the husband must repent and stop his adultery with immediate effect. He needs to apologize to his wife unreservedly. Concrete and practical steps must be taken to help him sever the relationship and contact with the other woman. Then counselling can begin to help both parties to reconcile and restore their fractured husband-wife relationship.
The person who possesses the Word of God possesses a wholesome tongue. The more the child of God applies the Word of God to his own life’s situations in order to walk right with God, the more wholesome his tongue will be to help others find life. A tree of life is often seen as a tree whereby the fruits it bears will give life. This life is eternal life in Christ! This confirms the fact that only believers can have wholesome tongues because they are able to point others to Christ through wise counsel! When sinners come to a Christian with their troubles, he will not help them with the troubles on earth but will help them find Christ to save them from sin. In the case of fellow believers who need help because they are struggling, he will share with them the appropriate portion of God's Holy Word to help them have the right biblical perspective to persevere through the trial!
His wholesome tongue points everyone to the Saviour through timely and wise biblical counsel. All truly born-again believers are blessed with a wholesome tongue as such a tongue originates from the mind of Christ and the love of God in the heart which God gives to all believers when they are saved.
Or a Breach in the spirit! – On the other hand there are those who call themselves Christians but the counsel they give ruins lives. Their tongues are called perverse in the sight of the LORD. The word “perverseness” means “viciousness.” They distort the facts or omit certain data to lead someone into the path of sin. They lower the view that others have of someone because of their perverseness. Their vicious words are masqueraded as biblical words. The gullible or simple ones are deceived and their lives and relationships with others are ruined. The word “breach” means “to ruin.” The perverse tongue ruins lives and friendships and families. That is why the Bible describes the result of a perverse tongue as “a breach in the spirit.” The body is not harmed by the perverse tongue. But the spirit which includes the mind, heart and soul are ruined. Two good friends or brethren become enemies because of words whispered by the perverse tongue. These victims ought to ascertain whether there’s any truth to what was whispered. Checking with the parties concerned is the best way to overcome the perverse tongue. Sadly such sins of the tongue are often repeated in our lives at home and also in churches.
Leaders are hated and despised because of perverse tongues. Relationships are ruined because of perverse tongues. Best friends have their relationship strained because of a perverse tongue. What shame and tragedy such a tongue brings into the lives of others! Peace in our spirit is precious and priceless. When a perverse tongue spouts falsehood and lies about a person, the good image and view we
have of that person is ruined until the truth is revealed or the lies are rejected completely. But the rejection is hard to do as the seed of iniquity has already been planted. The only way to get rid of it is to ask the person to clarify!
Does anyone of us want to have such a perverse tongue?Conclusion
– How is your tongue? Does it heal or does it ruin? Children of God ought not to have perverse tongues but tongues that bring life and blessing to others to God’s glory. May God help all of us to use our wholesome tongues which we have already received in Christ when we were saved! A wholesome tongue originates from the mind of Christ and the love of God that God gives to all who are truly born again!
Yours faithfully in the Saviour’s Service,
Rev Dr Quek Suan Yew