"When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 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. 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. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 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. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water." James 3:3-12
Remember the old saying, "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never hurt me"?
Most old sayings get to be old sayings by being true. I am not so sure about this one because words DO hurt. You have been hurt by careless words, so have I. You have hurt others with careless words, so have I.
I want you to notice how many warnings James gives regarding the tongue in these several verses.
First, he tells us it is out of control. It is easier to control large beasts and huge ships than the tiny tongue.
Second, he tells us it is a fire. Have you ever been burned by words? Yeh, me too! And you have scorched some people with your words, too, right? Me, too.
Third, he refers to it as a "restless evil". Not just evil but restless and evil. The tongue can't wait to spread its evil. Not good!
Fourth, it even gets worse! The tongue is filled with "deadly poison". Is he saying that the tongue can kill people? Yes, I think that is exactly what he is saying.
And finally, if these are enough bad things, here is one even worse - the same tongue that can honor God also is capable of cursing Him! That is disgusting!
With all these things in mind I am sure you can understand why he says earlier that the one who controls his tongue is "perfect in all his ways"!
How does that happen? How do you get this powerful little trouble-maker under control?
That is what I will talk about the rest of the week. But it won't really matter until you get sick and tired of the damage your tongue is causing. Until you decide that it is time to get your tongue under control it really won't matter what I tell you.
Are you hurting over something that was said to you by another? Is someone else hurting because of your tongue-lashing?
Start there! Do something today to begin repairing the damage!