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How Powerful is the Tongue?

It seems like the whole world is jumping on Alec Baldwin for the course message he left for his daughter that has been played over and over recently. Without defending his words in any way, it strikes me that we all might have a memory of words or conversations that would not be pleasing to air publicly. A great advantage in our home when raising our children involved raising our voice, it was fortunate that when one parent was going catatonic, the other parent usually kept their cool. The words we say have incredible power and permanance. You can apologize if you have hurt someone but the words can never be retrieved and the relationship is often hampered forever unless both parties truly forgive and forget.

James 3: 1-12 has great lessons and pictures for us to understand this larger than life issue. The author joins us by saying in verse 2 that "...we all make mistates, and if any one makes no mistakes in what he says he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body also." He is saying that he too has made these same mistakes. Note the comparisons made to our tongues:

  1. Bits in the mouths of horses, control the bit and it will control the whole body of a huge animal
  2. Rudder of a great ship, control the rudder and it will control a large ship
  3. The tongue is a fire; an unrighteous world among our members; a restless evil; full of deadly poison; tries to bring both blessing and cursing from the same source; and appears to be untameable.

Christians rely on the Holy Spirit to form their words and help them speak when they are pressed about their faith or in need of the right thing to say. Waiting on the Lord to help us with our speech and using the right words is impossible for mortal people to do all the time. This week, you will be pressed into a stress situation and it will take all you can do to not over react. James also describes in verse 17 what Godly words will do. From our position of weakness, we can still find victory if we learn from past mistakes.

"But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy, and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity."

Sent April 30, 2007

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