If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
She had first professed her love for Jesus Christ at a very early age, and she was not shy about sharing her faith. In her eyes, that faith was certainly her identity. She claimed to wear it as a badge proudly, but her behavior often conflicted with her claims. It was not that she was a stranger to acts of service; she frequently volunteered her time to do things for those who could not do for themselves. She loved serving in the community and being the conduit for God’s provision in the lives of others. Although she steadfastly poured out life through this kind of service, see also poured out death through her words. She never understood that the tongue literally has the power of life and death.
It may seem strange to see these two verses next to each other in scripture because they appear to speak about very different things. However, they are actually speaking about the same thing. The instruction to rein in our tongues is a call to make sure that our speech brings life instead of death. It is just like the call to care for orphans and widows, those who cannot care for themselves. It is for the church to sow into their lives. Sharing an encouraging word or discipling someone in the truth is no less life-giving than providing food or shelter. We are not to do as the world does and cut people down with our words as that is no different than ignoring those in physical need. Whether in speech or in deed, we are called to sow life into others.
Intentional Christians not only wait for opportunities to bring life to others but will seek them out. This means that we do not just wait for someone to talk about their bad day before we try to encourage them. We approach everyone regardless of their situation with the intent to give life in every interaction. Every conversation and every deed is about showing care for the other person. In taking this approach to our faith, we are simply being the hands, the feet and the tongues of Christ to those who need their life-giving power. Father, make us a faithful people who seek out opportunities to give life to others not only by our deeds but particularly by our words.