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. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
What do you think is the most devastating power known to man? A flood? A tornado? A forest fire? A hurricane? An avalanche?
How about a tsunami? Do you know what a tsunami is? A tsunami is the result of an underwater earthquake that creates huge waves. Those waves roll and roll until they hit land and sometimes when those huge waves hit land the results are horrific.
A few years ago a giant tsunami crashed into some countries in SE Asia and created death and destruction like the world had not seen in a long time.
In our devotion for today, James continues to illustrate the power of words, or the power of the tongue. He doesn’t call it a tsunami but the results are symbolically similar. He is quite colorful in his description. The tongue is called “a world of unrighteousness”, it has the power to “stain”, it is a “fire”, a “restless evil”, and “deadly poison”.
Are we getting the point yet? Our words can be a staining, burning, never sleeping, deadly, killing force. We simply have to watch our mouths or we’ll create all kinds of havoc in our world.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
• When can our words be a force to kill? (When they are rash.)
• What kind of person brings healing speech? (A wise person.)
• How can you grow in wisdom so that rash words don’t come from your mouth?
Our Father, there is no hope for us apart from you. We simply can’t control our mouths unless you empower us by your Spirit. Give us remembrance of how your grace saved us in Jesus. He spoke the words of life that we need to hear and give to others. Give us the power to live humbly in light of this truth. May it conform our use of words from death to life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.