Church Fathers, Day One Hundred Forty-Two: St. John Chrysostom tells us to train our tongues to serve righteousness

st_john_chrysostom_3Train your tongue to serve righteousness

What we say can be as important as what we do. St. John Chrysostom reminds us that it’s up to us to decide whether we’ll use our tongues for good or for evil.

First of all, we should train our tongues to be ministers of the grace of the Spirit, expelling from our mouths all hostility and ill will, and the habit of us­ing obscenities. We have the power to make each part of our bodies a tool of evil or of righteousness.

So listen how some people make the tongue an instrument of evil, and others of righteousness. “Their tongues are sharp swords” (Psalm 57:4); but another says this about his own tongue, “My tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe” (Psalm 45:1). The first wrought destruction; the second wrote the divine law. So one was a sword and the other a pen—not by its own nature, but by the choice of those who used it. The nature of the one tongue and the other was the same, but what they did was not the same.

St. John Chrysostom, Homily 4 on the Statues, 11


Does what I say match what I believe?

Is my tongue a sword for evil or a pen to write God’s praises?


Father, source of unity and love, you made my tongue to tell of your righteousness, and to praise you all day long. Help me live the peace I preach to others, so that I can live in harmony with all your people.

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