James 3: Taming the tongue

James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

As a mother, am I not a teacher?  What relationship is more influential than that of a mother to her children?  I hadn’t ever made that connection until I was reading James 3.  But the responsibility of raising children, as well as the fact that I’ll be held responsible  by God for how I do it, freaks me out.

7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

You  know how you’ve read a passage  a million times before and then at some point, it just really hits you?  That’s what happened with the above verses.  It blows my mind that we can tame a wild creature (fitting picture as we just went to the zoo last week), but cannot tame our own tongue.

Even if I don’t always broadcast the slanderous speech going on in my head, I do still think it and dwell on it.
Why do we like to point out others weaknesses and poor choices?  DH is not one to gossip or appreciate negative talk about others.   In fact, I couldn’t tell you the last time he said something unkind about anyone.  And when I say something about someone that is not uplifting or kind, he doesn’t approve.  So, I don’t say things like that to him as often as I might (I more often say them to other people who will appreciate the gossip and slander).

 13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.

Like fortune tellers, who may have “wisdom,” their source of power is not anyone I want to associate with.

The devil counterfeits so many things that the Lord created for good.  Wisdom is yet another example of something he counterfeits.

The way to tell the difference between wisdom from God and wisdom from Satan?  Here is what wisdom from the Lord will look like.

17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

I’d like an order (or two or 10 or 1,000) of wisdom from the Lord, please!

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7 thoughts on “James 3: Taming the tongue

  1. you’re right. we don’t gossip to people who are unwilling recepients of the information. so why are we quick to say “I just can’t help it – the girls around me start gossiping and won’t stop”. If we made it more clear that we weren’t open to chatting about others, they’d know to go elsewhere to get their kicks from talking about people.

    • Oh Brooke, you are so right!!!! I guess I feel like I don’t have the guts to react negatively when I hear others gossip. Even if I’m wishing they would stop. My husband and I have such different personalities. He can just stay silent and that will be enough to shut you up. I need to work on making it clear that I am not interested in hearing gossip. Thanks for your remarks.

  2. This is convicting. I know I’m more likely to share my negative thoughts/criticisms/gossip around certain people and that I’m likely to enable them to do the same. I need to work on this!

  3. There is a woman at our church, whom I admire greatly, and when she encounters gossip she {half-jokingly} covers her ears and says “ooh, ooh gossip hurts my ears”. The first time I heard her say that I admired her courage and was amazed at how quickly it shut people up! Now I use it when I find myself in an uncomfortable “gossipy” conversation.

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