Considered the strongest, most sensitive, most flexible muscle in our body, the human tongue is to put it blatantly, bizarre. It contains 10,000 taste buds and on there are 150,000 nerves which send messages to our brains to detect differing tastes. It is normally true that men have longer tongues than women, yet it would seem to be true that women use the tongue more frequently than men. Women by average speak 20,000 words a day while men only speak around 7,000. This means after only one-year women normally speak 7.3 million words while men speak 2.5 million words. That’s a difference of 4.8 million words. That number of words is the equivalent to reading War and Peace, in its entirety, 8 times. It would take the normal man to 3 years to speak as much as a woman does in 1 year. No wonder the number one problem in marriage is communication! You wives speak too much while we husbands hardly speak at all!
With our tongues we taste, talk, swallow, lick, smack, spit, or stick them out (which may seem childish in our culture but is interestingly enough a common greeting in Tibet). With it we can encourage or inflict. We can raise an army to war or rebuke someone in the wrong. We can comfort the hopeless or confront the rebellious. With the tongue we can wage war or woo that special someone. “Life and death is in the power of the tongue…” Proverbs 18:21 tells us. We all know this to be true. Perhaps this is more of the reason why James already told us to be “slow to speak” in 1:19.
So, as we begin let me pose a question: since Jesus said “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” what does your use of your own tongue this past week reveal about the nature of your heart?