Without the purifying fire of the Spirit as experienced at Pentecost, the tongue left to itself is set on fire by hell. I find that we Christians often don't believe this. Or we fail to act on what we do believe here. (And I'm not saying we need to "speak in tongues" here.)
Not only can I fall prey to complaining about others, mainly to my wife, but I am sorely tempted to retaliate in the form of challenging perceived assaults against me or others. And these are both, easily, fueled by the fire of hell rather than by the Spirit of God.
When sorely tempted to retaliate we should keep quiet. Or when cursed we should bless. This all begins with the heart. Are our hearts being changed by faith? Is God by the Spirit and the Word in community helping us to more and more move in the new way of the Spirit while rejecting the old way of the flesh?
Sins of the tongue are not only deadly but they seem to be acceptable among Christians. To cast a slur on someone, to say those words in a knowing way between the two, to be remarking at the incompetence of others, etc., etc., etc. The strife of tongues. There are few things I hate worse than gossip and slander. And I feel like when someone else is being put down or belittled than I am being put down as well. Didn't Jesus identify with the entire human race and each individual human when he became flesh and then took the sins of the world on himself and died for those sins and sinners? And we are in him.
Sins of the tongue divide people. This is a preeminent result of the flesh (or "sinful nature" as TNIV/NIV/NLT often translate sarx). God wants the human tongue instead to bring restoration, reconciliation and healing into human relationships. We do this by listening well, by speaking less and by choosing our words, in love, carefully.
In the blog world this is true as well. Blogs that don't practice what we're to practice face to face fail at this point. But all too often sins of the tongue are okay and explained away, I'm afraid, by Christians. We don't really believe that the tongue is a fire.
What thoughts do you have on this?