St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church
872 N. 29th St. Boise, ID
an American parish of the Russian Orthodox Church
Homily: On the Sins of the Tongue

I said: I will take heed unto my ways, that I offend not with my tongue (Ps 38:1)

Sins of the tongue are the most frequent and readiest sins. “If any man offend not in work, he is a perfect man”, says the Apostle James (3:2).  When a repentant man sets out on God’s path, when he begins to live according to God’s commandments, let him strive first not to sin with his tongue.  This was the rule that the repentant David laid down for himself.  He decided especially to keep silent before his adversaries: “I will keep my mouth… with a bridle while the ungodly is in my sight.”  This is a wonderful rule for the man being healed of sin.  When he is accursed, he makes no reply; when he is slandered, he keeps silent.  Truly, what use is there in speaking with an unrighteous man when he is in a rage? If you speak to him of evil, you will enrage him the more; if of good, you only make him mock at holy things.  Christ remained silent before Pilate (Matt 27:12), “Why do you not answer?”, asked Pilate.  What answer should He make to you who have neither ears to hear nor understanding to comprehend?  Lo, silence by the righteous before the unrighteous can make the greatest impression on him.  Left to interpret the silence of the righteous for himself, the unrighteous man can interpret it in a way helpful to his soul, while any answer, whether good or bad will be interpreted for evil, to the condemnation of the other and his own justification.  Blessed are they who have learned to govern their tongues.

O Lord Jesus Christ our God, Thou who hast given us an example of how and when to speak and when to be silent, help us by Thy Holy Spirit not to sin with our tongues.  To Thee be glory and praise forever. Amen.