In the book of James, we read about the concept of taming our tongues. To tame the tongue means to control what you say.
But this is pretty difficult, especially when you’re angry. Things tend to spill out.
I know this is true for me. I find it harder to control myself when I’m angry. I get emotional and in the heat of the moment, I might say things I regret.
It’s embarrassing to admit because I know it’s not good. One of the fruit of the Spirit is self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) so I should be striving to control my words. On your own accord, you can’t do this, but with the help of the Spirit, you can control your anger.
Do you find your anger getting out of control? Don’t worry, it’s a struggle for many. With the help of Christ, you can overcome this struggle.
Here’s how to tame the tongue and control your anger.
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What does the Bible say about taming the tongue?
The Bible has a lot to say about taming the tongue.
Here are a few of the passages that expound on the topic:
James 3:9-10 – “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be,” (ESV).
Proverbs 21:23 – “Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity,” (NIV).
Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen,” (NIV).
James 1:26 – “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless,” (NIV).Psalms 34:13 – “Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from telling lies,” (NIV).
What does the Bible say about anger?
Much like taming the tongue, the Bible has a lot to say about anger.
Here are a few of the passages that expound on anger:
James 1:19-20 – “Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God,” (ESV).
Proverbs 15:1 – “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger,” (NIV).
Proverbs 14:29 – “Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly,” (NIV).
Proverbs 15:16 – “A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel,” (NIV).
Colossians 3:8 – “But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth,” (ESV).
What can you do in moments of anger?
In moments of anger, it’s easy to lose control. Here are a few practical things you can do to control yourself so you don’t act rashly.
Take a walk.
Sometimes it’s really hard to control yourself in the heat of the moment, so the best thing to do is to step away from the situation.
I usually tell the person I need some time to myself and will take a walk. Taking walks helps clear your mind and calms you down.
Once you’ve had enough time for yourself, return back to deal with the situation calmly.
Much like taking a walk, exercise is a good way to manage your anger. I’ve done this before as well. When I was angry about a situation, I went on a run.
It allowed me to take my anger out in a healthy manner and feel better afterward. The energy I had from anger also fueled these exercise sessions and allowed me to work harder.
When you’re angry, take a moment to stop and breathe. Focus on your breathing instead of the situation and take deep breaths. It will center you.
I’ve found that taking deep breaths helps me calm down. I usually take deep breaths while I’m on my walk.
Journaling can help get your frustrations out. I’ve done this plenty of times. Usually, I’ll journal about a situation that I’m really angry about and need to vent about.
I kind of use my journaling as an avenue to talk to God as well. I like to believe that God wants my genuine self, not my best self. Besides, He knows who I truly am so there’s no point in trying to hide who I am.
When I journal, I just let it all out. Journaling is really therapeutic.
Use “I” statements.
When you’re ready to confront the situation or person, resort to using only “I” statements rather than “you” statements.
When you use “you” statements, it makes the other person feel like you’re blaming them. This usually makes them get on the defensive.
That’s why it’s better to use “I” statements. You’re taking responsibility for how you feel and it allows the conversation to run more smoothly.
How to Tame the Tongue
Once you’ve controlled your anger, it’s a bit easier to tame the tongue. You’ve cooled off and you want to remain calm when you talk it out. Here’s how to tame the tongue.
Give it to God.
The only way to truly change your behavior is if God changes you from the inside out. We can’t do this on our own.
The Bible says, “No human being can tame the tongue,” (James 3:8 NIV). We can’t control our words when we don’t have the Holy Spirit. Only with God can we change.
Give it to God. Allow him to change you from the inside out.
Pray about it.
If you really struggle with controlling your words, pray about it. Ask God to help you with this.
Here’s a sample prayer you can use if you’re at a loss for words:
Thank you for the promise of the Holy Spirit and for the fruit of the Spirit. You know my struggle with practicing self-control with my words. Help me be gracious in my words. Help me to control my anger. Thank you for your help in advance. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Listen to what the other person has to say. Before speaking, listen. Truly listen. Don’t listen to come up with a response. Listen to understand.
James 1:19 – “Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (ESV).
It’s okay to feel angry. Anger is a normal emotion we all experience.
You’re going to get angry in life so you need to find different ways to relieve that anger.
Remember these various methods to help manage your anger:
- Take a walk.
- Try journaling.
- Use “I” statements.
And these are ways to tame the tongue:
- Give it to God.
- Pray about it.
You don’t need to try all of these methods but you should choose and try them out. What may work for one person doesn’t work for the next. Experiment with these and choose the best option for you.
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