Despite all the things we are now able to control through modern science and technology, there is still one thing we have not yet mastered control over—and that’s the power of our tongue.
James uses a few fitting metaphors to illustrate the power of the tongue: “Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, [ships] are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark” (James 3:4-5).
Perhaps the most common forms of sin in the church today are the sins of the tongue. Our words have the power to wound feelings, devastate reputations, shatter self-esteem, and destroy relationships. One simple act of gossip can ruin a witness for Christ—and yet so often we cannot resist the temptation!
Jesus said that the things we speak are actually the overflow of what’s in our hearts (see Matthew 12:34). Is your heart filled with pride, sarcasm, accusation, or bitterness? Or is it filled with Christ’s love, encouragement, wisdom, and power?
The Truth is we can’t put an end to the gossip, lying, and blaming that create division in our families and our churches—but God can. With His Spirit at work within us, we can learn how to use our words to empower greatly, correct gently, and lead humbly.
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for the times I have used my words to bring destruction instead of encouragement. May my words be vessels of Your love and Truth. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be” (James 3:9-10).