Even if you’re not a fan of his style of music, by now you have probably heard of Kanye West. He’s a hip hop/rap musician in the United States, who, if you didn’t know about him through his music, has become popular of late because of his rather public “dis” of country singer Taylor Swift at the MTV Video Music Awards on September 13 upon her receipt of the award for Best Female Video.
Kanye grabbed the microphone from Taylor and said, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you; I’m going to let you finish, but Beyoncé had one of the best videos of all time…one of the best of all time!”
Talk about stealing the spotlight! Kanye was disappointed, to be sure, but in the process of expressing his disappointment, he devastated Taylor and lost a great deal of credibility as a result. All sorts of mock-statements have been made in other contexts since then. (If you haven’t seen any, they’re all over the Internet. Use a search engine to check for them, as some of them are quite entertaining.)
Kanye West later apologized, both publicly and privately, to Taylor Swift, and she has accepted the apology. When Beyoncé won an award later in the show, she invited Taylor Swift out to have another moment on stage, which was very kind of her. Despite all this, the words were still said, the damage had been done.
It’s not surprising, then, that many years ago, James wrote in the New Testament: “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” (James 3.7-10, NLT). The tongue is a serious weapon. It can be used to build up, and it can be used to tear down.
All of us, and especially we who belong to Jesus, should be careful in how we use our tongues. We want to be known as those who edify, and who tell the truth – in love, and when the time – God’s time – is right.