“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.”
I’m not fully sure I understand this verse from James, but it paints a vivid picture. What we say matters, and the words we use can cause immeasurable harm. How many of us still remember the sting of harsh words said to us by family or friends or teachers or bosses? Our words can linger in someone’s memory and shape their identity for decades and lifetimes. Now with social media our words typed in anger or thoughtlessness can hurt strangers around the world over and over again long after we’ve forgotten that we even said them. It’s no wonder James spent so much time urging us to tame our tongues and be self-controlled in our speech. Because the opposite is true of our words too. They can save lives and lift spirits and change the world for the better when used in concert with the Word of God.