Ezekiel 16-17 James 3
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6 NCV)
James recognized a big problem in the human condition. The tongue. That thing keeps talking long after it should stop. That thing makes great boasts, puffs up its owner, seeks to cause division among church and family, and generally causes a mess of trouble. That thing, though, is attached to a person and often what that thing does is reveal the nature and the quality of the person attached to it. James describes the tongue as an arsonist, setting fire to one’s life after being set on fire by hell itself. The truth is that the tongue can bring healing, or it can bring harm. It can cause divisions, or it can bring harmony. How the tongue is used depends on the person speaking. As God’s children, we should be very careful about our words.
We all know THOSE people who would make the world a better place if they would just stop talking. They sow division and discord whenever they open their mouth, or, in the modern equivalent, post on social media. We get so angry at their divisive posts that we repost them and talk about how terrible they are…and we don’t see that we’ve become just as much a part of the problem. Are we to speak prophetically when people in power, especially, sow division? Of course, but if we increase the division, we’re part of the problem. In all areas of life, we’re called to be mediators, peacemakers, drawing people together. Our criticism should be constructive, not destructive. Rather than feeding the divisiveness, we’re called reconcile people with God, and people with people. If we aren’t doing that, we’re feeding the flames and are just as much to blame as the person who started them.
Lord, it’s so easy to react to others and respond with the same anger that they did. Remind me when I do that that I’m not responding like I should. Make me a person who brings peace. Make me a person who reconciles people with God and with each other.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.