Psalm 64:8 [God] will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn.
The Lord Jesus Christ may have been reflecting on these words when he said, in his Sermon on the Mount: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way as you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matthew 7:1-5).
And the Apostle Paul may have had all this in mind when he wrote: “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgement on someone else, for at whatever point you judge the other, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgement do the same things. Now we know that God’s judgement against those who do such things is based on truth. So when you, a mere man, pass judgement on them and yet do the same things, do you think you will escape God’s judgement?” (Romans 2:1-3).
The Psalmist, of course, is referring to people who take every opportunity to cause harm to others, particularly to anyone who is seeking to honour God’s name in word and action by striving to live a consistently godly life. He is implying that such slanderous speech ultimately brings about its own condemnation. All God has to do on the Day of Judgement, when they might try to justify themselves by claiming that they weren’t really aware that what they were doing was wrong (after all, they were only voicing their opinion!), is to simply use their own words as proof that they DID know, and could not plead ignorance.
But, if this is true for those who pit themselves against God as his enemies, how much more careful do the followers of Jesus need to be with their tongues! The warning of the Apostle James is important: “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. … All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (James 3:1-2, 7-10).
As well as being careful to heed this warning, let us take comfort from the psalm that we can leave the effects of slanderous accusations used against us in this world, in the hands of our faithful Heavenly Father.
– Bruce Christian