1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
James shows his deep concern about the damage that can be done by allowing the tongue to run wild. This is so important that we must often take a look at the untamable tongue. We can easily understand why the tongue can be called untamable. We may become angry and want to hurt someone or something, but we usually can hold back. Not so with our words. Words that are sharp as a dart piercing into the intended target. Not only can the tongue be sharp, but it is often its dipped in poison. Words filled with deceit, with lies, with lust, with prejudice, with envy, with greed, and with a desire of self-gratification are proof of the added poison.
A misspoken word can bring great sorrow and or destruction. James compares this with a spark or a tiny ember that can turn into a fire burning many acres of a forest. When we have spoken words that have caused harm or have led people away from God instead of to Him, It can spead just as easily.
We need to admit that the words that come out have had some base from within us or they would not have flowed so easily. We need to ask ourselves, can tame our thoughts before they become words? James would answer, Yes. He would say not only can it be tamed, it must be tamed. The concern that James has is that those he writes to, as well as you and me, have counted it Joy when we have gone through trials, have found our base in Christ, and seek to serve Him, yet our tongues can run wild. He uses the example of the fig tree and reminds us that the fig tree cannot produce an olive, only figs. If we have indeed grown in our faith, if we indeed ask God to be the Lord of our lives, if we pray that we might be like Him and serve Him, then the only fruit that can come from our lives is Love. We are told that God’s love can conquer all things; thus it is only God’s Love abiding in us that can tame the seemingly untamable tongue.Amen~
If you slip up and say something to someone that hurts them or is not true, don’t just let it go or forget about it. Once you think about it and realize the error make amends. Send a note or talk to that person, apologize, ask for forgiveness for what you said. Let God’s love overshadow and heal the hurt or misinformation that can come from the untamable tongue.
Prayer: Dear Lord, Please guide our thoughts so that the words we speak show your love! ~Amen