We can tame a lot of things, from animals to fish in the sea, but no one can tame the tongue.
Here is how it is said in James 3:8:
But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Then it goes on to say that we bless God, and then curse men, who are made in God’s image. Earlier, it states that horses can be bridled, and made to go where one wants them to. Large ships can be steered with small rudders, but that small tongue, it seems no one can make it do what it should do, or keep it from saying things it shouldn’t. We can kindle large fires with it, ones that are difficult to quench.
As I wrote in previous posts, I can relate to the Bible, because it’s about people like me. I have an untamed tongue, and I am quick to speak, slow to listen. When I am hurt, I lash out; When I am belittled, I reprimand; When I want something, I am demanding. This verse is another that convicts me, because I bless God, and then curse my fellow man with that same tongue.
There’s some consolation in that James says no one can tame the tongue. I am not sure it is possible. In my devotions today, the writer said that when he is tempted to say something hurtful to someone, he tries to think of something good about the person instead. He also says that he has so many faults of his own, that he tries to remember all the things people could say about him, before he says something bad of someone else. That is good advice.
What would Jesus say? He did reprimand people, and at times called them hypocrites, and some religious leaders, He called white-washed tombs with dead bodies inside. I think it is okay to tell the truth when it is done in love, and to show someone the error of their way. I also think we have to use our words to encourage, to love, and to offer hope to a hurting world. Sometimes, it is best to not say anything, as there are no words for the moment.
I just know I am really guilty of saying the wrong things. I need to build up, not tear down.
Lord, help me to use my speech for the good of mankind, who are made in Your Image.