James 3; Jeremiah 25-26; Psalm 131
We more often regret the things we say than the things we left unsaid. Words have an amazing power over us and over others. We take what people say in anger, for instance and believe that reflects their true feelings; rather than recognizing those words to be the result of an emotional outburst. Too often in the news politicians or their consultants are having to deal with the results of untamed words. James points out what we all know in chapter 3 of his epistle. “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:7-8) What we say affects everything we do; it affects our relationships with others and it shows a lot about our relationship with God. It would be nice if somewhere in the Bible, especially here in James, there was a list of “Top Ten things you can do to tame the tongue.” James points out the problems we have and reminds us that speaking evil of our brother or sister is a bad thing but there’s no real solution to the problem. What he does point out, though is that the closer we draw to God, the more likely we are to hold our tongues. Even still, it’s fair to say that more people who follow Christ have said something like, “I wish I hadn’t said that!” than not. So what’s the solution? We begin with our relationship with Jesus. We see other people as Jesus saw them. We resolve to speak to others and of others as Jesus would. We seek God’s help and we speak blessings over others, not curses. Then we remember these important words for those times that we still say the wrong things: I was wrong. I’m sorry, I apologize.
Lord, how true it is that we can’t tame the tongue. I mean to speak well of others, and the emotions rise up in me and I say what I don’t want to say. I speak curses against others and not blessing. Work in my heart. Work in my mind to make me the kind of person who only speaks under Your authority.