Taming the Tongue - Again
2For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
3If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well.
4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.
5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,
8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.
10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water?
12Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
Chances are it wouldn’t take you very long at all to recall conversations or even just phrases that have been said to you, about you, or by you that were hurtful, painful, and completely memorable. The tongue is a powerful tool, useful for good and excellent at evil. None of us are immune and none of us are guilt free. These words from James claim our attention because we know they are true and have experienced that truth first hand.
The goal is the taming of the tongue. James doesn’t give much hope for achieving that goal, but he holds it out there as something to be aware of and with which to contend. And all of us, having been hurt by words in the past, know that it is a worthy fight. And as with every sin, we must hold onto the fact that Jesus has paid the price for every failure with His blood. The sin of those misspoken words has been forgiven. That doesn’t mean we cease trying to speak with grace rather than with vitriol, but instead embrace that forgiveness for when we fail. Remember too that it is with spoken words that people come to know that Jesus is their Savior. So daily we walk the line between using words as weapons or using them as emissaries of grace. May God enable you're success today through the power of the Holy Spirit!