Perfection in Speaking

fire out of mouth“For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.”                          James 3:2 (ESV)

Chapter         (ESV)

Audio              (2:16)

As the plane was making its approach to land, the Captain began speaking over the intercom system saying that they would be landing in about 20 minutes. Suddenly he screamed into the microphone…”OH MY G…” and the microphone went silent. Everyone in the cabin was absolutely silent. After a few minutes, the Captain came back on and apologized. He said that as he was making the announcement, the stewardess had spilled hot coffee on his lap. He remarked… “You should see the front of my pants”. To that, one of the passengers spoke up saying…”You should see the back of my pants!” Words have power, and in certain situations, their power can be overwhelming!

If you’ve done much reading in James, you know that he writes in almost continual word pictures. As he talks about the power of the tongue, James uses the picture of a bridle and horse as well as a rudder and ship. A little later, James describes the tongue as a fire, with the ability to start a forest on fire.

James teaches us that what we say has tremendous impact on those around us, both for good and for evil. He reminds us that the rare ability to control our tongue is found only in those who are mature in Christ.

The saying we all heard growing up…”Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me” is a lie. We’ve all had times when we wish sticks and stones had been thrown instead of painful words.

As we have all been hurt by words, no doubt we have also hurt others with our words. For those of us in the medical field, our words have even greater power. Therefore, we must take extra care with our words, seeking to build up rather than tear down.

The goal of controlling our speech is a worthy goal for all of us to strive for. However, it will only come as we increasingly surrender to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to control our tongue. Try not to start any fires with your tongue today.

Prayer: Lord help me say only the words You desire through this day!

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