Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Have you ever found yourself telling someone something that you felt they needed to know about another person that was less than flattering? Have you ever repeated something about another person that you heard? Have you ever heard a prayer request that sounded a lot like gossip? “Please pray for so and so because she was arrested for driving under the influence last week…blah, blah, blah.” Maybe you were on the receiving end of such negative talk.
The word of God tells us that only wholesome words that promote health to others physically, mentally, and morally should come out of our mouths. Whenever we speak of others, it should be to instruct or improve that person (edification), not tear them down in the eyes of others. Our words should “…give grace to those who hear.” That means that our words should give pleasure, joy, and delight to others. That is not an easy task. We tend to say what we think. In order to tame the tongue, we need to begin with the heart (Ps. 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O LORD, my rock and my Redeemer.”).
We need to change the way we think about others. We need to see others the way Christ sees them. When we have the mind of Christ, our heart will be right and our words will be wholesome. The tongue can cause great damage to others, but it can also bring great joy. James sums it up in chapter 3 verses 6, 9, & 10.