Talk the Talk

I guess I’m someone who often has a lot to say on a subject, even if those words are more often thought or typed than said out loud these days.  That doesn’t mean that everything I have to say is useful – or even helpful.

If we are going to be wise, as we looked at in Proverbs, we so need to think about our tongues and how we use our speech…

James 3:1-12

The Tongue

3 My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers will be judged more strictly than others. All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.

By putting a bit into the mouth of a horse, we can turn the horse in different directions. It takes strong winds to move a large sailing ship, but the captain uses only a small rudder to make it go in any direction. Our tongues are small too, and yet they brag about big things.

It takes only a spark to start a forest fire! The tongue is like a spark. It is an evil power that dirties the rest of the body and sets a person’s entire life on fire with flames that come from hell itself. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and sea creatures can be tamed and have been tamed. But our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil, and always spreading deadly poison.

9-10 My dear friends, with our tongues we speak both praises and curses. We praise our Lord and Father, and we curse people who were created to be like God, and this isn’t right. 11 Can clean water and dirty water both flow from the same spring? 12 Can a fig tree produce olives or a grapevine produce figs? Does fresh water come from a well full of salt water?

Our tongues are such a small part of our body, but when we use them to talk, we can do big things with them – we can either do great good, or cause great harm by what we say.

Do we want to be known as someone who spreads deadly poison, who is constantly calling people, who never has a good word to say about anyone or anything?  Do we want to be someone whose words are destructive?  Or do we want to be someone who always has a pleasant word, who goes out of their way to praise others and encourage them?  Do we want to be the source of dirty water or clean?  Someone who praises or curses?

You can bet if we are known for always having something unhelpful to say that no one would hear anything we have to say about God – or if they do, it will be tainted by also hearing our bad attitude.  Hmmm…

 Let my words and my thoughts
be pleasing to you, Lord,
because you are my mighty rock
and my protector.

(Psalm 19:14 Contemporary English Version)

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