Saturday, November 22, 2008

Taming the Tongue

November 22: James 1-5

6 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. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
James 3:6-9

Taming the Tongue

The Apostle James was the first of the twelve apostles to be executed for his faith. Yet, in the short time he lived, he wrote one of the most powerful books of the New Testament. It does not take long to read the entire book (only five chapters); it is well worth the time spent reading it.

For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Who among us has not been the subject of a sharp, vindictive tongue? As a child we used to chant the rhyme:

Sticks and stones may break my bones,
But names will never hurt me!

Unfortunately, quite the opposite is true! Our body will mend much more quickly from broken bones than from a broken spirit crushed by some one's inflamed tongue.

I wish I could say that we only see this happening among unbelievers, but the acidity of an untamed tongue permeates the church as well. James is speaking to believers when he says of the tongue,

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.

Dear friends, we are called by the Lord to spread the Gospel and to help build up the kingdom of Christ. If we find ourselves tearing that kingdom down by harsh and thoughtless words, we must go before Christ, confess our sins, and cry out for grace that God would tame our tongue.

It is not easy to change, but what is impossible with man is always possible with God. As we enter this holiday season when we often find ourselves surrounded by family and friends we do not often see, we must pray that God will be gracious to us and would keep us from speaking evil of others (even if it is true!).

Taming the tongue can only be the work of God!

I leave you with this final thought from James 3:6,

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.

God Bless You,
Linda

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