The Stroke of a Tongue

bee PNG10A French proverb states, “The stroke of a tongue is more grievous than the wound of a spear.”1

A bee’s sting is painful and complicated, too.

In order for a bee to sting, twenty-two muscles are brought into action, the number of muscles being greater for a queen than for a worker. The art of stinging involves three separate sets of movements in the sting mechanism – the outward thrust of the stinging shaft, the depression of the shaft, the movements of the lancets on the stylet of the sting. The extension and restriction of the stinging shaft are brought about by a contraction and expansion of the abdomen, the abdomen acting like a bulb.

But the most interesting and significant thing is that all of this highly complicated mechanism does not call for any particular skill on the part of the bee, the stinging being largely an automatic act. So are careless words spoken.2

We read in James, chapter three, “The tongue is a small thing, but what terrible results it can cause. It is full of wickedness and poisons every part of the body. No human being can tame the tongue. It is always ready to pour out its deadly poison” (vv. 6 – 8, TLB).

  In Matthew 12:36, Christ warned, “Every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.”

A coachman, pointing to one his horses, said to a traveler, “That horse, Sir, knows when I swear at him.”

“Yes,” replied the traveler, “and so does your Maker.”

A famous mathematician said that the slightest word, though it be but a whisper, vibrating in the air, sets in operation a series of changes which undulate to the very outskirts of creation. The whole material universe is a mighty whispering gallery in which God is hearing our words.3

“It takes two years to learn to talk, and the rest of your life to control the mouth” (Mark Twain).4



  1. C. H. Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, Volume One, Psalm I to LVII, Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, MA, p. 183 
  2. Robert G. Lee, Sourcebook of 500 Illustrations, Zondervan Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI, Copyright 1964, p. 149 
  3. The Teen-Age Teacher, Volume XXIII, April, May, June, 1954, No. 1, Gospel Publishing House, Springfield, MO, p. 59 
  4. The Word for Today, P.O. Box 5160, Alpharetta, GA, 30023-5160, June, July, August, 2012, Monday, July 16, 2012, p. 28

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