Our theme for this month: “Character and Integrity”
Our Bible verse for today: “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.” James 3:6 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Tame your tongue”
Words are not neutral. Words have power – they can bless or they can curse, they can help or they can hurt. And once they’re spoken, they cannot be unspoken. Oh, you can apologize; you can claim you didn’t really mean what you said; but you can’t unsay what you said. Once the words are spoken, they are out there – they are in the memory banks of those who heard them and you can’t get them back.
In James 3:3-12 the Apostle gives us a pretty damming assessment of the human tongue. He starts out in verses 3 and 4 by illustrating how it is that small things can have big impacts. The small metal bit that is placed in the mouth of a powerful horse can cause that horse to obey the slightest tug on the reins by the rider. Likewise, a small rudder can turn and direct a huge ship which weights many thousands of pounds.
The tongue is like that too except that whereas the bit in a horse’s mouth and the rudder on a ship always have a good effect, the tongue can be an evil little thing that often causes great damage. James goes on in that passage and compares the tongue to a small spark which creates a raging fire that destroys an entire forest. Can I get an “Amen!”? How many times have careless and angry words, driven by hot emotions, sparked raging fights that ultimately destroyed relationships? We’ve all been involved in situations like that. At one time or another we’ve all been the victim in such situations, and at other times we’ve been the perpetrator.
We need to watch our words. That’s especially true when we’re angry. Don’t let your anger drive your words. When your mother taught you to count to 10 before responding, she knew what she was talking about. Always, always, always, calm down and think through what you plan to say before you say it. And then make sure your words are going to be helpful rather than hurtful.
So, tame your tongue. Surrender it to the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Words are not neutral, they are powerful. Men and women of character and integrity learn to control their words.