James 3:2-12 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue-- a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
I experienced my first South Dakota wildfire last fall. It was a hot, dry, windy harvest day – conditions combine in such a way that the smallest spark from a combine tooth hitting a rock in the field can soon become a fire ravaging miles of fields and pastures.That’s what happened. Later they traced the start of the fire back to its origin point – a field being harvested. Ironically, the farmer had just shut down his equipment because he had been called out to help fight a grass fire somewhere else. He didn’t see the smoldering of the spark – it was probably too small – when he left. When he returned, the fire had spread for miles.
The smallest idle comment can have the same effect. Sometimes you don’t even realize that what you said was taken the wrong way by the hearer. Before you know it, that offhand remark has taken a life of its own.It’s not easy to repair the damage that hurtful or negative words can cause. My daughter came home from school one day and informed me that we need 6 positive remarks to undo the damage from 1 negative comment.
We’ve got a big job on our hands.
Because there's lots of negative, hurtful, mean, degrading talk these days. People are hurting from the power of those words.
And God is in the business of healing those hurts.Our job as children of God is to be the ones speaking words of love and grace and mercy. To speak God’s words to the world around us. To speak the blessings of the Creator to those created in God’s image.
Six words of blessing to counteract each word of curse.
Talk about proclaiming good news to the world!
Some thoughts to ponder:James says we all make mistakes in speaking. Do you need to ask forgiveness for a slip of the tongue? Who may need to hear an apology?
How can you speak words of blessing to those around you?Often people think that the only way to proclaim the ‘good news’ of Jesus is to talk about Jesus. How do words of blessing proclaim the gospel?