...the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness.
"Hold your tongue!" Sometimes that was said as a rebuke by a parent to a cheeky child but it is also a good piece of advice for all of us. James, who wrote the letter from which the verse above is taken, has some really sound advice about what we speak. He knows very well how our words can hurt people or can tell things that should be kept private. As Christians we have to be especially careful about the words we speak. One reason for this is that our words show the kind of people we are. The Apostle Paul said, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control." (Galatians 5:22-23) Do our words always show that kind of character? It makes you think, doesn't it?
James, in his letter, shows us very clearly just what a real mess can be caused by a 'loose' tongue; words that don't reflect the fruit of the Spirit. These words can be boastful, they can spread like a fire and cause much hurt and damage.
The book of Proverbs is full of advice for us to listen and hear what wise people are saying to us — listen before we speak! James says, "Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger..." (James 1:19) So, let us hold our tongue until we are sure that what we are saying is true.
Dear Lord, help me to watch my tongue so that what I speak will be truly like Jesus. Amen.