The power of words
We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. James 3:3-5 NLT
From the text, James made the connection that a believer who is maturing in faith is able to control the tongue. To illustrate this ability to control, James compared the tongue to a small bit in the mouth of a large horse. The point of the comparison is to show that a relatively small bit can control a large animal. Then, James used another example to make his point clearer to the readers. The Jews are so much in awe in the ability of a ship to transport massive amount of cargo. They are not seafaring people but the sight of a massive ship amazes them and to realize that a “small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.” So, the pilot takes control of the ship by utilizing the force of the wind and by using a small rudder, controls the ship navigating it to a certain direction. It is not the strong wind that controls the ship but the pilot that navigates it using the small rudder. Once again, the point of the analogy is that a person has the ability to control the tongue. A faithful follower of Christ can accomplish great things and make positive impact to others by using encouraging and edifying words. “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:6 ESV). Through their words, they can instruct those who lacks knowledge and comfort those who are sorrowing. But the misuse of the tongue can crush and dishearten the spirit, promote lies that can create distrust, and spread hate. “Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them” (Ephesians 4:29 NLT). The power of words is God’s gift to us. We are privileged to serve God through the words that come out from our mouths. We can pray, sing songs of praise, and share the gospel that will lead a person to Christ. Let us not take for granted this responsibility that God has given us for great are the consequences if we take it for granted. Let us take heed of the warning: “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless” (James 1:26 NLT).