In the New Testament James will write that a man who can control his tongue is a perfect man, “able to keep his whole body in check” (3:2). He goes on to observe that “no one can tame the tongue.”
Psalms 12 and 14 bemoan the paucity of godly people, and the evidence of their scarcity is the speech that fills the world and hurts people: lies, flattery that deceives, and oppression of others – none of which in Psalm 12 is accomplished by anything other than what people are saying. The sword of hurtful speech cuts deep into the soul and the resultant wound never heals. Though we would like to forget we never will. The embarrassment, shame, terror, or betrayal we feel will always lie just under the surface of a facade of forgiveness – which will be compromised every time we think of those words used against us.
This is why it is important to think before you speak, and when words run faster than our judgment, to confess and seek the forgiveness of the one we have wounded, as well as the forgiveness of God, whose words are always true and who promises to act against those whose tongue has become a dagger to the hearts of their fellows.