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Watch 2022-2023 online sermons » Joel Osteen » Joel Osteen - Tame Your Tongue

Joel Osteen - Tame Your Tongue

Joel Osteen - Tame Your Tongue
TOPICS: 15 Ways to Live Longer and Healthier, Self-Control

One reason people get stuck in life is because they haven't learned to control their mouth. They say hurtful things, they put people down, they argue. They don't realize their mouth is keeping them from rising higher. Your friends may not tell you this, but they don't like that. Your coworkers won't say anything, but they'll distance themselves from you. You'll run off good people because your tongue is untamed. The apostle Paul said in Ephesians, "Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial to the progress of others".

Before you say something, you need to ask yourself, is this comment going to be beneficial to someone else? Is it gonna build them up or put them down? Is this comment gonna make my spouse feel better about themselves, or is it just gonna feed my ego? These are tests that we have to pass. The only thing that's holding some people back from a healthy marriage, good friendships, a promotion, is their tongue. They're talented, they're skilled, but they pop off, they're sarcastic, they stir up strife. You can't say everything you feel. Your emotions will get you into trouble. When someone gets on your nerves or irritates you, you feel annoyed, instead of popping off and saying things you'll regret later, step back, take a deep breath, pause for 30 seconds. Think about what you're going to say. Don't speak out of your emotions. Don't let your tongue run wild. That's the easy way out. You have to be disciplined and tame your tongue.

The scripture says, "Be quick to listen and slow to speak". If you pause for a moment and let your emotions calm down, you'll make better decisions. Some things are better left unsaid. You don't have to win every argument. You don't have to comment on every situation. You don't have to set everyone straight. Do you know how many headaches we could save ourselves if we just zip it up? If you're in the heat of the battle, it's easy to make hurtful comments. Then you're gonna regret it later. Takes ten seconds to say it, but the pain can still be felt ten years from now. It's like the burn mark left behind on the skin after a fire has long since died out. We can apologize, say we're sorry, which is the right thing to do, but it doesn't take away the scar, doesn't make the pain go away.

It's much better to tame the tongue, to be slow to speak, to think about what we're going to say and not speak out of emotions. This does so much damage to our relationships. We've heard the saying, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me". But really, that's not true. Words can leave scars. Words can tear people apart. Words can make them feel insecure, inferior, not valuable. There are people today who are not reaching their potential because of hurtful words that were spoken over them. David prayed in Psalm 64, "Protect me from the sharp tongues of the people who wield them as swords". He referred to hurtful words as swords. Are you building people up with your words, or are you cutting people up with your words? Are you encouraging them, making them stronger and more confident, or are you putting them down, leaving them wounded and scarred?

Many times, we can recover from physical wounds much quicker than emotional wounds. Taming the tongue starts at home. As parents, we have a responsibility to speak words of life, faith, and encouragement into our children. Yes, we have to correct them, but don't do it in an angry, disrespectful way. Don't say derogatory things that are going to damage their self-esteem. Don't start cutting them up at an early age with negative, hurtful words. They have enough in life to overcome as it is. They have enough people and circumstances coming against them. Let's be parents who speak words of life that push our children into their destiny, that help release their dreams. God has entrusted us with our children. They are a gift from him. With that gift comes great responsibility. God is counting on you to guide them, nurture them, encourage them to become who they were created to be.

Husbands, make sure you're treating your wife with respect and honor. If you're saying hurtful, demeaning things, putting her down, you're really putting yourself down. You're not just hurting her, you're hurting you. The scripture says that your prayers won't be answered if you're not treating your wife with respect and with honor. You won't reach your dreams and accomplish your goals if you're cutting her up. I read a study that said one of the main reasons women fall into depression is because they don't have the blessing from their husband. They don't feel valued and appreciated.

I know men who treat strangers better than they treat their wives. They're kind and gracious to coworkers, but they're condescending, sarcastic to their spouse. Same is true for wives. The scripture says, "The wise woman builds her house, but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down". It's important to speak words that build up your husband, honoring words that encourage him to walk in his purpose and potential. Those aren't just nice words, those are seeds that will move them toward their purpose. Use your words to bless people. Use your words to put people back on their feet, to make them feel better about themselves. Speak life into them.

I found that I'm at my happiest and healthiest when I'm with people who inspire me to pursue God's best. My wife Victoria is an incredible voice of wisdom and encouragement in my life and in the lives of so many others. I wanted to sit down with her and discuss some of these strategies that have helped our church, our family, and our relationships grow stronger and healthier over the years.

Joel Osteen: We're talking about tame your tongue. And this is so important, because the scripture says with our words we can bless people or we can curse people, and seems like today more than ever in this society there's a lot of disrespect and people are very loose about saying, you know, just putting people down. And I just, I love that scripture. It talks about, you know, are your words profitable? Are your words building people up? Victoria, you've been so good about even, I think about over our children. I always hear you building them up, telling them who they can become, but that's so important in a child's life especially.

Victoria Osteen: Yeah, it really is. And, you know, a lot of people maybe weren't raised getting encouragement, so you have to be more aware of that. I just happened to be raised with a mother who encouraged, and she encouraged not only us, but she'll encourage other people. In fact, she always said, "You know, there's something amazing about each person. You just need to find it". And so, with that train of thought, it's like, don't look for the worst in the person, look for the best. And bless them with your words, because, you know, you can think it, but until you say it, you know, it's not gonna lift them up. And so, I love that. And, you know, I think even when you started ministering, I think, you know, when you were, like, working so hard and, you know, you felt like you had all this doubt in your mind. I was so glad that I had that ability to encourage you, had that ability to lift you up, because, you know, when you lift someone in your family up, you know what you're doing? You're lifting the whole family up, because when one person rises higher, we all rise higher. And I think about how in a harbor, you know, when the water comes up, all the ships come up. And that's why I believe it's so important to speak blessings over your spouse, over your children, because it lifts everybody up. It lifts the whole family up. And so, I was just grateful that that was something that was passed on to me, and it wasn't a difficult thing to do. So, I think if you're not raised with encouragement, you can learn to encourage.

Joel Osteen: Yeah, that was so important, because ten years before my dad passed, I'd be sitting on the front row Sunday night when I wasn't up in the TV area doing the production, and Victoria leaned over to me during a service and say, my dad was up there, and says, "One day you're gonna pastor the church". And I thought that's, "There's no way I'm gonna pastor this church. I don't know how to pastor, I don't know what to speak. I'm not a minister or anything like that". But I heard her say that again and again and again. She said, "No, Joel, I just see it in you," and I never thought I had it. But when my dad suddenly died in 1999 after doing production for 17 years, I knew I was supposed to step up and pastor the church. I felt it so strongly, and I took that step of faith. But really, I believe one reason I was able to do it is I'd heard Victoria tell me, I mean, I was gonna say thousands, but at least hundreds of times, "Joel, you can pastor this church". I think one of the principles is you can see things in other people sometimes they can't see in themselves. I couldn't see it, but Victoria saw it. And you said it earlier, a blessing is not a blessing until it's spoken. She could have thought it. Her thoughts wouldn't have blessed me. But when you speak words of life and faith and victory, and let me tell you, your children, your spouse, your coworkers, they have enough things pushing them down. If you see something good, you gotta push them up. Use your words to speak life and victory and, you know, any time you bless others, you know that that's gonna boomerang, it's gonna come back to you as well. So, I think it's a great principle, Victoria, is seeing the best in others, taking time to speak it. I love what your mother taught. Every person has something good, and she taught our little grandkids, go find that one good thing and tell them. And it's just a different way of looking at people rather than, oh look, they look funny, they're odd, they didn't do this. No, look for the one good thing in them, and then use your words to bless people. And I think that's a big part of taming the tongue. Because again, it's easy to speak the negative, it's easy to speak defeat, it's easy to tell people off, it's easy to be rude to people that are rude back to you, but it's so much better to say, you know what? I'm gonna use my words to bless people, to lift people, and to encourage them.

Victoria Osteen: Yeah, it's better, but it's healthy. You know, I find that it's so healthy. And, you know, it's interesting because when you first started speaking, I would say, "Oh Joel, that was such a great message". And then I felt to say, you know what? I'm gonna pinpoint something in the message that really meant a lot to me. And so, I think you said it earlier. It's not just about flattery, it's really not. It's about finding that thing that is good, and they can really, you know, feel good about. Because there's nobody just wants to be flattered for the sake of being flattered, you know. But when you look for that, and so I would say, "Oh, I loved when you said this, this, and this," and it changed you, even with the compliment. You know, it changed you. You were like, "Oh, she really did. She really did, you know, love that". So I think finding that true thing, you know, and bringing that out or what somebody's really good at, I think that's what makes someone rise and really gain the confidence that that compliment gave them.

Joel Osteen: You know, when I was in the seventh grade, I was very small. I grew a lot after high school, but I was always one of the smallest players on the basketball team, and I had this coach, and he was really big and gruff, and we loved him, but he was rough. But one day we were in the hallways. He taught school as well, we're in the hallways, and he called me out in the hallway. "Osteen, get over here". I went over there, and heart's beating, I thought, am I in trouble or something? He looked at me, he says, "I know you're small, but you're gonna be my starting point guard, and you're gonna do great this year". And he said it in front of all those other people. And man, when he said that, I thought I felt like I was 10 feet tall, and I did great that year. But when I knew he believed in me, but again, he took the time to say it, and he said it in front of everybody, which, you know, it just let them know that, oh, he does think I'm good, that I have what it takes even though I'm smaller. And so, that's the power of words. They can lift people or they can push 'em down, and I believe you're like me, you wanna be the type of person that lifts people and helps them to rise higher, to overcome obstacles, and use your words to help them become who God's created them to be.

In relationships we all have conflicts and things we don't like. And I'm not saying you should never have a disagreement or tension or stress. I'm saying that you should step back and not make hurtful comments in the heat of the moment that's going to damage your relationships. "Well, Joel, if my spouse wouldn't push my buttons, my children would act right, I wouldn't say the things I shouldn't. If my coworkers wouldn't get on my nerves, I'd be more respectful". These are tests we all have to pass. The people in your life are never going to be perfect. You have to learn to tame your tongue. That means you don't say everything you feel like saying. You may think it, but you're disciplined enough to zip it up.

Maybe your boss is rude to you. You're about to let him have it, tell him what you think. The problem is he's the boss, and you're not. After you let your emotions speak, after you give him a piece of your mind, you'll be on a high for about ten minutes, feeling good, giving people high fives. Then you'll realize he still has a job, and you don't. It's much better to tame your tongue. Then you won't have to live with regrets and ask, what was I thinking? Why did I say that? Love makes allowances for people's weaknesses. Love overlooks a wrong done to them. Give people room to have a bad day. When they're rude, don't sink down to that level. Life is too short to live at odds with others, being contentious, arguing over things that don't matter. Some people are so hardheaded, they always have to have the last word in an argument. Let it go. Quit wasting your energy. You have a destiny to fulfill. You have an assignment to accomplish.

Those are distractions trying to pull you off course. Don't waste your valuable time on something that's not moving you towards your purpose. If you argue long enough, you're gonna say things you regret later. A ten minute argument can set the relationship back ten years. You have to learn to walk away. You're not gonna accomplish anything positive in a heated, disrespectful situation. Keep your peace and keep your joy. "Well, Joel, that may make me look weak". It's just the opposite. The strongest person is the one who humbles himself or herself and steps back. The scripture says, "You overcome evil with good". You don't overcome disrespect with more disrespect, insult with insult, shouting with more shouting. You do it by taking the high road, by being the bigger person, by staying respectful.

Proverbs 20 says, "Avoiding a fight is a mark of honor". Doesn't say it's a mark of honor to win the fight, to get the last word, to put the other person down. The honorable thing to do is to avoid the fight. In the Bible we read about David, when his father sent him to take food to his brothers on the battlefield. When David's oldest brother, Eliab, saw David, he was disrespectful toward David and tried to humiliate him in front of the other soldiers. Eliab was trying to start a fight, and some people will make it their agenda to bait you into conflict, to try to stir you up into strife. Instead of being happy for you, knowing that God has a destiny for you, they'll be jealous.

Like Eliab, they'll try to draw you into battles that don't matter. Don't take that bait. I'm sure David felt like telling his brother off. His emotions were saying let him have it. He could have said, "Eliab, you think you're hot stuff? You're nothing. You're just jealous because I was anointed king and you weren't. You're gonna end up serving me". David could have lit into Eliab, but he didn't get distracted in the wrong fight. Didn't curse out his brother, try to have the last word. Kept his mouth closed, turned, and walked away. If David had gotten distracted fighting his brother, he could have distracted him from a much bigger assignment that was about to show up, fighting Goliath. David had the character to back up the anointing on his life. It's no wonder that David took the throne. It's no wonder that God entrusted him to do great things.

God can give you a great anointing. He can have a big future in store, but if you don't develop your character, you won't step into all that he has for you. You won't reach the bigger assignment. Taming the tongue is a major part of reaching our destiny. Our mouth gets us into more trouble than just about anything. You can't go around telling people off, using your tongue like a sword, saying hurtful things, pushing people down, and then expect to step into the fullness of what God has in store. Many times it's not the big things that are keeping us from God's best, it's the small things. The apostle Peter says, "If you wanna enjoy life and see good things, say nothing evil or hurtful".

I wonder how much higher we would go if we would do like David and not have to have the last word, not have to be right, not have to make a scene. How much higher would we go if we'd keep honoring God quietly, being respectful, staying on the high road? The next time you're tempted to say something you know you shouldn't, put it on pause. Under your breath, say, "God, help me to keep my lips sealed. Help me to control my tongue".

If you'll be slow to speak, take a moment to ask God to help you, you'll start passing these tests. You will step into more of what God has for you. Can't be disrespectful to your spouse, your children, your coworkers, and become all you were created to be. You can't talk behind people's backs and reach the fullness of your destiny. James said, "The tongue is like a fire". One spark can set a whole forest on fire. One word can start a major problem, and one word can start a major blessing. I'm asking you to start some good fires. Ignite dreams, ignite hope, ignite passion. Your words can put people on their feet, breathe new life into their dreams. Don't be a part of the problem, be a part of the solution.

An abundant life starts on the inside and works its way out. You should be your biggest encourager because your happy, healthy life can't happen without you. Here are some words to live by. Every day, I choose joy. God has me in the palm of his hand. I never have to worry. As a child of God, I am unoffendable and quick to forgive. I forgive because I am forgiven. As the scripture says:

I am strong in the Lord and the power of his might.

in all circumstances, I will bless the Lord, for this is the day he has made.

God is on the throne. He is ordering my steps. He is providing for my every need.

I can surrender my worries, my burdens, and all my cares into his hands.

I look forward to tomorrow, but embrace the present.

I have grace for today, and God will give me grace for tomorrow when tomorrow comes.

I'll fight for those who cannot fight for themselves because my God fights for me.

my rest comes from God. He is the one who restores my soul.

I am who God says I am, and I will reach my full God-given potential no matter what comes my way. I have everything I need to live an abundant life.

Be a lifter, be an encourager, be a healer. When you're tempted to say something disrespectful, condescending, argumentative, be disciplined to zip it up. Don't go through life getting drawn into unnecessary arguments, cutting people up with hurtful words. Instead, build people up with encouraging words. Every morning ask God to help you keep your lips sealed. If you'll tame your tongue, I believe and declare you will enjoy your life more, you will have better relationships, and you will see God's goodness in greater ways.
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