Honey, or Venom?

[388 words]

Honey has a very sweet, pleasant taste. It can be eaten by itself. It can also be used to sweeten other foods. Some believe that there are some healing benefits to honey as well. Most people would welcome having a jar of honey in the house.

Venom? Well, venom is poison. When I think of venom, I think of a poisonous snake. Venom stings. Venom harms the body. Venom can bring death. Venom is not something that individuals welcome into their homes. They keep it as far from them as possible.

We mention these two things because our words can be likened unto them. Our words can be smooth and sweet as honey. Too, our words can be poisonous and deadly like venom.

Here are three passages that speak of the poison that can come from the tongue:

“They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips. Selah” (Ps. 140:3). 

“Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips” (Rom. 3:13). 

“But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:8).

In the Song of Solomon, the king refers to the words of his spouse as being like honey. “Thy lips, O my spouse, drop as the honeycomb: honey and milk are under thy tongue; and the small of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon” (Son. 4:11).

Here is something interesting about our words: First, our words do not have to be harsh to be poisonous. Second, our words can admonish and correct and be like honey. Some people are known for their sweet words. Some people are know for their bitter words.

Most of us use our tongues both ways. Hopefully, there is more honey than there is poison. James, however, makes this remark about such a tongue: “Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:10).

Paul gives us inspired counsel regarding our tongues in Colossians 4:6. He writes: “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” 

What will come forth out of your mouth today? Honey? or, venom?

Victor Eskew
Oceanside church of Christ
Atlantic Beach, FL

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