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. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. James 37-12
These verses have stirred my soul this morning. So many of the things that come from my mouth are directly related to my emotions. I think that is why James tells us that no one can tame the tongue. At times we want to defend ourselves against lies told about us or direct attacks so we speak unkind words out of a desire to defend ourselves. All the while telling ourselves it is justified. Or maybe we are protecting someone we love and feel justified still. The words that come from our mouths are profound and carry with them a great burden to glorify God is all we say.
Last week we visited chapter 2 in James about our faith requiring works because faith without works is dead. I believe this is an extension of that. When we die to ourselves and live for Christ we are called to a different attitude, a different life. That includes the words that come out of our mouths. While no one can tame their tongue to perfection, we can pause before speaking and ask God to give us the words He wants us to speak in that moment. These verses reminded me that too often I speak out of emotion rather than wisdom from above. Words can never be taken back. Their residue lasts forever. We can ask others or forgiveness, but the words remain and the hurt that accompanies the memory. Thankfully God’s mercies are new every morning for the times we forget who we are living for. Let us ask God to tame our tongues through the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in us.
Gracious God, please forgive me of the times I have spoken ugliness from my mouth rather than praying for Your will. I pray, Lord, that I seek Your wisdom before letting emotions take over before I speak remembering that words can hurt and their sting lasts forever. Help this to be another part of my faith in action. I realize that I cannot do this alone and thank You that You don’t ask me too. You have sent the Holy Spirit to fight for me even in this area. I pray that I allow the Spirit to do His work in me. In Jesus’ Most Precious Name, Amen.