The tongue. That fiery, kind, brutal, life-giving, encouraging, poisonous puppet. It doesn’t do the damage on its own; there’s a mysterious channel that runs from the heart and brain, looking for a way to get out. So, the tongue obliges, spilling its venom, or healing balm — whichever the heart dictates.
“She’s written about the tongue before,” you say.
Yep. I wonder why? Because it’s an ongoing, never-ending battle. I’m not what you’d call “a talker.” But, I think a lot of thoughts and they boil just like anyone else’s.
So, I had a lot of these bubbling thoughts the other day — and it was a stinky brew. There was a real and present danger that it was going to force its way out of my mouth, via the formidable tongue.
Which led me to read (again) the words from the book of James (see bold words below) And, I read and wrote and summarized what I was reading, hoping that I will totally understand and assimilate the living, powerful word of God. The basic thing I want to remember: the tongue is untamed and untameable — humanly speaking. That doesn’t mean, however, that I cannot try to control it. When I ask God for His help, He will give it.
This is my uninspired paraphrase of James chapter 3, the revealing and helpful “tongue chapter” of the Bible:
We are prolific stumblers. If you don’t stumble when you use your tongue, you must be a mannequin or a robot. Just like small bits guide the big bodies of horses…and just like seemingly insignificant ship rudders control unwieldy, bulky ships, the tiny tongue effects enormous power and potential — for good or evil.
Forest fires are started by a small spark, and the tongue’s work is like that at first — a mini controlled blaze – one that turns into a menacing, chaotic firestorm.
The tongue is the Creator’s design, but it is a notoriously sinful member of our bodies — staining lives, reputations, and setting relationships ablaze. The tongue is a useful weapon in the soul-enemy’s arsenal.
Wild creatures worldwide have been tamed by humans — but not the wild, unruly tongue. It never can be tamed. It’s restless and seems to be always itching for trouble. Our tongues are double agents — blessing and cursing at will. How can both poison and healing come out of the same opening? But that’s the sad truth about the tongue. Kind words, and cutting words; helpful and damaging, encouraging and murderous — all pouring out of the same mouth…
James 3: 2-10 from the Bible:
For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.
How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind,8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. ~ James 3:2-10 ESV
Photo credit: Sarah Louise Kinsella