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Small yet destructive

And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:6-8 NLT

Though the size and weight of the tongue compared to the whole body is small, yet the destruction it can create is beyond comprehension. The analogy that James used describing the tongue as “a flame of fire” provides a description about the sphere of harm it does wrecking and ruining lives. Just like a flame of fire, the more you feed the tongue with words that destroy, the more power you give to it to create havoc. Our words can break lives, hurt reputations, and destroy relationships. As James said from the text, “People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue” (v. 7). A person can stand before a massive animal and give a command and the animal will obey for it was tamed. Unlike the tongue, when it is out of control, it can just spew words that could lead to destruction. Like an unruly animal, it will seek out its prey ready to attack and kill. Driving through a wild animal park, you look around to what seems to be calm and peaceful animals. But all over the area you will see signs that cautions people to close the windows of their car and do not get out of the car. When you trust your ability to tame the tongue, it will be filled with “wickedness, corrupting your entire body.” But if God is the one controlling it, the tongue will be used to provide testimony of faith that will build up others. If God controls our hearts, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “For whatever is in your heart determines what you say” (Matthew 12:34). If God fills our hearts with His love, our conversations will reflect God’s love. Words that will come out will be gracious and attractive and in this way, we will obtain the right response from everyone (see Colossians 4:6). Satan will deceive us that we are not sinning by what we say. Such thinking is contrary to the truth for when we are spewing hatred and contempt that cause others to be hurt, just like what James said, the tongue “is set on fire by hell itself.”


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