This is what God gave me today in his word:
Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! (James 3:4-5)
Pretty clearly, James wants them (and us) to realize the power of… The tongue: the deadly weapon and a fire starter. Scary, right? – No offense James, but how could a muscle in my mouth possibly be as dangerous as you make it out to be?
How can the tongue be so dangerous? …
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. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (James 3:7-9)
Believe it or not, the tongue can be deadly poison: very capable cursing the people of God. When we speak, our words can have a real impact, for better or worse.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? (James 3:10-11)
The thing is though, a Christian shouldn’t be spewing “salt water”. Is of no help to anyone, in fact, anyone foolish enough to drink of it will end up in a worse state then they were in. The salt water is representative of Gossip, slander, and general verbal abuse. – A Christian should instead be giving fresh water. Able to restore others and help those who drink of it. The fresh water is represented by words that, “build up”.
Have you ever heard the expression, “If what you’re going to say isn’t nice, don’t say it.” or some sort of variation of it? What that means, is that you should only say things that are nice (as you may have gathered). – The tongue is dangerous and should be kept under a lock and key, so to speak.
How is it that a rebellion starts? What is it that sparks dissent in people? Is it that the people are slaves to a higher class? India seems to have fared quite well with that general arrangement. Is it that every human being has a desire to gain more, hence leading to a rebellion to try to accomplish that? That emotion typically has its outlet in the work place. So what is it then that could move people so dramatically as to cause them to decide there’s a change needed? The tongue, as James say, is a small fire, that can lead to a very large forest fire.
Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. (James 3:12-15)
I think the danger of the tongue has been thoroughly established. James apparently thinks so as well, because he’s moved on from the actual tongue itself, to its roots: Bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in the heart. A Christian shouldn’t have these in his/her heart and if you do, perhaps you should check your relationship with God. Jesus didn’t come to die for us so that we could slander or spread rumors about our brothers and sisters! He came, died and rose again in order to murder selfish ambition and cast out jealousy.
In summary: The tongue is a powerful weapon; a deadly poison, in the hands of an earthly person. However, a Christian has been born anew and is a child of God. Therefore, the roots that cause spreading false rumors (being false to the truth) and the rest, are dead.
You are Loved!