James 3: Watch Your Mouth
Words hurt. People remember words for a long time, and I’m sure that we can all think of times during our lives where people said things that really hurt us. In light of those types of memories, James 3 seems incredibly appropriate.
Jas 3:7 For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:
Jas 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
It is a valuable point here. We are able to control so many things. Think about something like an orca. It is a massive creature, but humans are able to train them to do all kinds of things. Elephants are much larger than us, but we can ride on them through training. How ironic is it then that we cannot even control our own mouths?
What does it really mean then to control our tongues? Obviously, we’re not in the business of hurting people, but we are also not in the business of flattering people. We are in the business of truth and love. We ought to use our words to communicate not only what people need to hear, but they also need to hear how much we care about them.
Isn’t that the heart of the Christian message and the testimony we see from Jesus Christ Himself? He certainly spoke the truth. He did not hold any punches. He called the Pharisees vipers for crying out loud. However, speaking the truth is loving.
If I see some people driving down the road towards a cliff, is it better for me to let them know that they are wrong truthfully, or is it better for me to let them feel good about their choice of direction that is leading towards disaster?
If I love them, I’m going to correct them from their wrong direction. They might not appreciate me telling them that they are wrong, but if I truly love them, I’m not going to let them drive off a cliff.
Keep this in mind then about controlling our tongues. We are called to be loving, and we are called to be truthful. Words are powerful, and they have a major impact. Let’s make sure we are working in the right direction.