People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-8 (NLT)
Read: James 3:2-12 (NLT)
Listen: James 3 (NIV)
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me.” It’s a cute children’s rhyme we often say to children. The problem is it’s just not true. Words do harm us, sometimes significantly. Angry words often are remembered for a lifetime. Phrases— like you’ll never amount to anything, why are you so dumb, you’ll never be as good as your sister, and you’re just like your father—can negatively impact someone for decades.
James, the half-brother of Jesus, knew this well. A significant part of his letter in the New Testament is about the incredible damage a tongue can do. He said the tongue “makes great boasts…is a fire…a world of evil…corrupts the whole body…sets the whole course of one’s life on fire…is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Few parts of our body can do more damage than our tongues. We must always work to keep it in check (James 3:2)!
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Review your most significant conversations from this week. Think about those with your spouse, children, co-workers and neighbors. On a scale of 1-5, how well did you keep your tongue in check? Think about your words, tone, volume level and even body language. Then, confess where you were wrong to God, asking for “wisdom and understanding” (see James 1:13) as you remember the importance of taming the tongue and the power of words.
Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.