Tongue Talking Believers
3 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both freshwater and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
Wow… Need I say more? What a beautiful and to the point passage of scripture. I am really thankful for our Life Journal readings. It is important that we receive the whole Word each year and not just the passages we want to receive. James 3 is not easy to swallow but is vital for developing a healthy church community and living our lives in a way that is honoring to God. I’m still chewing on verse 2 as a write this,
“ Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.”
Who knew that such a small part of our body could wield so much power to create and destroy. To build and to tear down. To have so much authority for both good and evil. In light of what Jesus has revealed to James in this chapter, I have decided to create a list of ways I can identify if my words are building the Kingdom of God or are a source of destruction. (I know we all love list)
Do my words build, protect, heal and encourage people?
Does my conversation involve people who are not going to hear what I say when I say it? Would I be embarrassed if they found out what I said?
Do I believe I have the authority and ability to speak wisdom from heaven?
Are my words speaking hope, or are they cynical and defeating.
Do my words bring peace or do they spur chaos?
Do my words honor those I am in relationship with?
Can I own and apologize for things I should not have said?
Do I believe that listening is more important than responding?
These are just a few questions I ask myself before I speak anything I believe carries influence or importance. I know I don't always get it right and that's ok. Humility to apologize and the ability to receive God’s grace goes a long way. What I don’t want is to be careless or unaware of the importance of controlling my tongue. I’m thankful for the Word of God that speaks life, encouragement, and when necessary correction. I’m thankful for a heavenly Father who loves me so much that He’ll confront me when needed.