Today's reading centers on taming the tongue. There is a quote from Benjamin Franklin that is very appropriate to today's reading. "A slip of the foot you may soon recover, but a slip of the tongue you may never get over."
What we say and what we do not say are both extremely important. According to James proper speech is not only saying the right words at the right moment, but also controlling our desire to say what we should not say. Our words have a lot of power - both positive power and negative power. Among the positive power is the power to encourage, motivate, praise, offer thanksgiving, and share the Word. The negative power includes gossiping, bragging, lying, and putting others down. It is our choice how our words empower or deflate others.
James compares damage the tongue can do with a wild fire. I like this comparison as like a fire we can neither control nor reverse the damage destructive words can do. Negative words can spread destruction quickly and no one can stop the consequences once they are spoken. Even if we regret the words spoken and apologize later the scars remain.
Today's reading points out that as Christians we are called to use our tongue for good purposes and not destructive ones. If you or I saw a person who professed to be a Christian but was always bad mouthing someone, or always complaining about something, would that person seem to be a Christian to the outside world? According to James would they seem like a Christian to God?
Before any of us speak we should ask ourselves the following, is what I am about to say true, is it necessary, and is it kind? We can give open and honest feedback to someone but it should be in a loving manner. It should be the way we would want to receive it.
I do not know about you, but after reading today's verses I will be reexamining the way I use my words. I hope you do the same.
Wishing you much success in your walk with Christ,