Our theme for this month: “Changing the tone of the conversation”
Our Bible verse for today: “So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how a small fire sets ablaze a large forest. And the tongue is a fire. The tongue, a world of unrighteousness, is placed among our members. It stains the whole body, sets the course of life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. Every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish is tamed and has been tamed by humankind, but no one can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:5-8 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “The tongue is powerful.”
The reason we’re spending an entire month discussing the way in which we speak to each other is because words have such power. Wars have been started by words. People die because of spoken words. Look at the passage from James 3:5-8 again – the spoken word can be like a little spark that sets an entire forest on fire.
In his book, “James: Guidelines to a happy life” Pastor John MacArthur shares this thought about the power of the tongue:
“The tongue is you in a unique way. It is a tattletale that tells on the heart and discloses the real person. Not only that, but misuse of the tongue is perhaps the easiest way to sin. There are some sins that an individual may not be able to commit simply because he does not have the opportunity. But there are no limits to what one can say, no built-in restraints or boundaries. In Scripture, the tongue is variously described as wicked, deceitful, perverse, filthy, corrupt, flattering, slanderous, gossiping, blasphemous, foolish, boasting, complaining, cursing, contentious, sensual, and vile. And that list is not exhaustive. No wonder God put the tongue in a cage behind the teeth, walled in by the mouth!”
As we have learned this month, the tongue can be used to speak words of peace and blessing. If we use it correctly and Biblically, the tongue can speak words of life to hurting people. But the tongue can also be a little monster that is evil and vile, causing pain, heartache, even wars and death.
James tells us that the tongue can’t be tamed, but that’s hyperbole. He said that just to illustrate what an evil little thing it can be. All of the other Bible verses we’ve considered so far this month, and those yet to come in this series, tell us that the tongue can be tamed, but only by bringing it into submission under the power and guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Your tongue is small but powerful, and it is either evil or good (probably a little of both). But it can be tamed by being trained. I encourage you to train your tongue to be a blessing rather than a curse, good rather than evil.