Tuesday 16th March
“But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessings and cursing. My brethren this ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth-fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring can yield both salt water and fresh.”
Sadly I often find myself doing the very thing James warns us against. It is so easy on a Sunday morning or in a church setting to talk the talk, to praise God, or to speak in even in the tongues of angels. These things almost come as a second nature in “church” context. But what about when we leave church or on a Monday morning at work? Do we then have the same graceful words or do we so often find ourselves falling into and being influenced by the ways of the world? The truth is is that when we find ourselves in situations whereby we need to be set apart from the world, instead of taking a stand, we join in with the criticising and slandering of others, or sow into negative conversations.
James clearly makes a distinction between that of wholesome talk and that of an “unruly evil” or even “deadly poison”. Why does James use such strong language here to describe the negative way a tongue can be used? I believe it’s because a tongue can often cause more damage than a bullet. I am reminded of the old song “sticks and stones can break my bones but names will never hurt me!!” The sad thing is that this is the biggest lie of all. Name calling or bitter words might not break bones but it can surely cause physical and emotionally damage and the tongue used in the wrong truly can be like a deadly poison.
So what is our response? James says that “no man can tame the tongue”. But in truth does this give us an excuse to be passive about controlling what comes out of our mouth or better still does it point us to the One who can, Jesus Christ. See in our strength we often fail and say things we shouldn’t or even purposefully say things to hurt another. Yet when we ask the Holy Spirit to take over the words we speak over each other, we give Him control to tame our tongues.
The challenge for us all is to allow Jesus’ grace to be so evident in our lives that out of the abundance of His love in us and towards us, flows a river of grace, wholesome talk, and loving kindness out of us! If you are struggling to speak grace over someone then “Let it not be so” my brother or sister. Ask the Holy Spirit to tame your tongue so that the words of your mouth and meditation of your heart will be pleasing and acceptable to God!