Be Careful, Little Mouth,
What You Say
Tongues are funny looking little things. Children sometimes playfully stick theirs out at one another. As we brush our tongues, looking in the mirror, the words “fire,” “restless evil,” and “poison” probably don’t come to mind. Yet this seemingly harmless part of our bodies is one to be guarded cautiously. “And 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…It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3:6,8b).
Misusing our tongues can destroy things that we hold dear. “How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!” (James 3:5). How many relationships have been annihilated by “little white lies” that escalated beyond their original intention? How many life-long grudges have been sparked by harsh words? How many Christians have ruined their influences by uttering foul language? So many “forgettable” uses of our tongues can ignite infernos of despair in our lives.
Our tongues can destroy our relationship with God. Sinful things that we say and do will separate us from God (Isaiah 59:1-2). But one thing that James points out in his epistle is that we cannot use our tongues to bless and curse if we want to please God. He explains it this way: “Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water” (James -12). Even if you pour gallons of fresh water into a salt pond, when you go to draw it out, it will be full of salt. Likewise, blessing God out of the same mouth where cursing flows is useless. Our words can separate us from God. “For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matthew 12:37).
“Look 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” (James 3:4). WE ARE THE PILOTS! Though taming our tongues is a daunting task, we must direct our efforts towards doing so. Our lives depend on it!