The tongue is a "little member" of the body (James 3:5), but is one that must be yielded to God as an instrument of righteousness (Romans 6:12,13). There are many references to the tongue in the Book of Proverbs. The wonderful gift of speech God has given us should be used for His glory, and should not be taken for granted or abused. The tongue should be used for the right purposes, but many times Satan gets hold of it and the results are devastating. More damage is probably done by the tongue in lives, homes, and churches than by any other means.
Note some of the correct purposes for use of the tongue: bringing peace to men (chapter 15:1,26); giving wise reproof to the erring (chapters 15:12; 28:23); delivering lost souls from hell (chapters 11:9; 14:3-5; 12:6); teaching people the things of the Lord (chapter 15:7; 16:21,23; 20:15); and carrying the good news of the Gospel (chapter 25:25).
Chapter 12:17-22 speaks of a lying tongue and, as we saw in chapter 6:16,17, God hates a lying tongue. Sometimes it is only covering sin in the heart, as was the case with Ananias and Sapphira, as related in Acts 5. Truth alone is eternal, but liars will be revealed and judged in the last day. Lips can only utter words, but the deceit of lies comes forth from the heart. If the intent of the heart is evil, then evil statements will come forth from the lips. Proverbs 17:4 indicates that liars enjoy listening to liars. A man who enjoys listening to gossip is the man who gossips! All liars will be punished (Proverbs 19:5,9). This is so emphatic that it is repeated twice in these verses. Revelation 22:15 says that hell is waiting for the one who "loveth and maketh a lie.".
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