James 3:5-9 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your preferred version of the Bible after the link opens.

In these verses James makes it clear just how wicked our tongues can be. He compares our sharp words to a raging fire that destroys everything in its path. We are capable of using our tongues to boast about ourselves as well as to reduce others to rubble on a whim. Once our tongues get to wagging it is hard to slow them down. They can become as venomous as vipers if we don’t keep them under control. Are we quick to gossip (perhaps under the guise of sharing a prayer request)? Will we tell a “white lie” (if there is such a thing) to cover up something we don’t want others to know about? Do we tell things that don’t need to be said about others to make ourselves look better in comparison? Matthew 12:36 tells us that on judgement day we will have to account for every careless word we have spoken. That should make us sit up and take notice – and then take action to get our tongues under control.

As bleak as this seems, don’t dispair. We are blessed with a heavenly Father who is compassionate and willing to help us to control our tongues. If you continue reading in James you will find hope in this.

Father God, please remember that we are made of dust and show us your mercy. Help us to keep our tongues under the control of your Holy Spirit so that it may only bring forth words that will encourage others and build them up.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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