Mind Your Language
Lord, place Your words in my mouth today to tell others of Your boundless love. Let praise pour forth from my lips.
Read James 3:1-12
 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.  We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.  When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.  Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they 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.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.  All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind,  but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.  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.  Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?  My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThink of any words you have spoken in anger. Pray for forgiveness.
James has a lot to say about language because he knows how powerful words can be. The other day, someone approached me about something I had said years ago that had really wounded her. The scary thing was, although I couldn’t remember the incident, it had seared her for years. James speaks about two specific ways that the tongue does damage: boasting (5) and cursing (9). The point he makes is this: the tongue has disproportionate power in relation to its size (3,4), and once it is let loose, it can do an incredible amount of damage. The image of the spark starting a cataclysmic fire (5) sends chills through anyone living in fire-prone areas, where bushfires lay waste to the entire landscape, literally creating a “scorched earth.” In the same way, “sparky” tongues can destroy everything, including us (6). James reminds us that the lowest point of our language is the true center of our spirit. Jesus, too, said that we would know people by their fruit (John 13:35). We cannot claim to be redeemed while vileness “sparks” from our lips (9-12).
Boasting and cursing both need to be restrained if we are to reflect Jesus’ love and life. Seek honest feedback on how you use language.
Lord Jesus, help me to control my thoughts and words, so I can serve You productively without distracting others.
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.