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The Taming of Our Tongues

Scripture

Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 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. (James 3:4-5)

 

Observation

James 3 speaks about the extent of damage tongues can bring. James uses the analogies of ships and forest fires to highlight their contrasting effects. Even the largest ships are steered by their comparatively small rudders. Once activated by the ship pilot, the ship rudder enables the ship to turn slowly but surely towards the direction it should go. On the other hand, a small spark will be able to set a large forest on fire and destroy it entirely. Similarly, our tongues, though a small part of our body, can cause grievous damage if not tamed.

 

Application

 

Note the positive effect made by the rudder to the big ship and the negative effect of a great forest being destroyed by a small spark. Tongues with our spoken words are the same. They can be both positive or negative and can build lives or destroy them. The positive effect of a ship rudder is likened to words of assurance and honor, or encouragement that will lift up lives. The effect could be slow but surely in the right direction.

Prayer

 

Dear God, tame my tongue and help me watch my words each time I speak. Lord, speak through me only words of life each time so that lives can be encouraged.