This passage in James went PERFECTLY with my talk on The Power of Our Words. I read it with the high schoolers and discussed it during chapel. God has really put it on my heart to be very careful with my words, I grew up with such encouraging people in my life whose words pushed me to be the woman I am today. I've been blessed to be surrounded by godly men and women who saw it fit to mentor me and build me up with their words. I have friends who pushed me to go to grad school when I doubted if I could handle it. And now that I'm a wife and a mom I feel my words can also do great things if I use the influence I have with my little family to encourage my husband and bless my children with the words that come out of my mouth. Here is what the passage says:
1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
I'm tired of cynicism, crass jokes, complaining people, negative people, sarcasm...that's just not what God wants from us. We aren't to be like the world, so filled with negativity and despair...hello!!! We belong to a mighty God who loves us and died for us. What are we complaining about and so cynical and sarcastic about? I find the more time I spend with Jesus, the less time I have to bite my tongue. And the more time I neglect my time with Christ, the more time my tongue gets me into an awful amount of trouble.
We can be such hypocrites. Father forgive us. One minute we are praising the Lord, singing worship songs, and the next we are gossiping about another brother or sister in Christ. The tongue is so little and yet if not tamed it can do great damage. It can destroy someones reputation. Our words can separate the best of friends. In verse 6 it talks about our tongue being a fire. Gossip sometimes begins innocently, but one careless match, one slip of the tongue, and a whole community can be brought down. Gossip destroys friendships, families, and churches...and I'm just as guilty as the next person. Why do we gossip? Why do we slander? Part of it is insecurity, part of it is fear, and part of it is just our wicked hearts. I say insecurity and fear because sometimes when we have an issue with someone, instead of going to them and clearing it up we elect a fan club. We talk about that person to our friends and try to rally them and get their sympathy instead of just dealing with the issue with the person. Proverbs 18:21 Solomon said that death and life are in the power of the tongue.