Taming the Tongue

James 3:1-12

“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” (v 1) The obvious question is, why a stricter judgment, didn’t the previous chapter conclude that faith without works is dead?

Teaching is one of the speaking gifts and we need to understand the power of our words; in our own lives and also the potential impact they might have with others. Thoughts proceed words and words often proceed actions. Words may encourage and inspire, but also they can deflate, deceive and manipulate. The words we speak may have great power but also great responsibility.

But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.” (v 8)  Lies, deceit, manipulation, gossip, back-biting, stirring up strife, betrayal … too often we try to minimize the damage that can be done with our words. 1 Peter 2:1-2 “Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation…” (In other words, grow up, mature, perfect!)

Additionally, since a teacher has knowledge of the word they can be lean towards a critical nature, even judgmental. Add arrogance and you have a full blown pharisee with their own agenda and not representing the Kingdom of God. When we see where others have “fallen short” our focus needs to be gentle restoration, not condemnation.

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”(v 9-10) Be careful my friend, weigh your words thoughtfully.

Next week: James 3:13-19 Wisdom from Above

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