You have the power, the ability to build up or take down. To encourage, or to discourage. To help or to block. To correct or to break. To cheer others on or to cause sorrow.
Anger, frustration, feeling unheard. When you’re feeling these emotions and speaking from that place, only destruction is left. All control is gone.
Just like St.James says, “the tongue is a fire” (James 3:6).
Fire is used to cook food, warmth, and light. But we also know that fire can be really destructive. If you listen and pay attention to the news, you know how dangerous wildfires can be. Some people lost property, lost lives. So that same substance, fire, can on one hand bring life, warmth, and light but on the other hand, it can bring destruction and death.
So the difference, the reason why it doesn't always bring destruction and death is because it's controlled. It's either in a stove top, a fireplace, or on a candle. But when it brings destruction, it’s because it caught on to something it wasn’t supposed to and it was wildly free and spread.
So just like fire, the tongue is very powerful. It can cause tremendous good or tremendous destruction, the difference between those things is whether or not the tongue is controlled.
James mentions 3 different analogies about the tongue:
- A small bit that put in the mouth of a horse to control them (James 3:3)
- A small rudder that steers a large ship (James 3:4)
- A spark that starts a big wildfire (James 3:5)
The theme of these 3 analogies is that something small can have a big impact. So just like the tongue, it's small but powerful.
When we release words from our mouths, When we swear or curse at people even if it's a “joke” you have no idea of the impact it will make to that person and the snowball effect it will cause to others. We can't take our words back, there is no rewind bottom in life.
The tongue can cause tremendous good or tremendous destruction. So what will you do? Will you use what God has given you for good or destruction?