We’re doing a short study of the book of James in our Wednesday night Life group right now. And this week is James chapter three, which is, in a large part, about taming the tongue. It happens to be a lesson, I think probably most of us could stand to here again now and then. The point for James, is less about not saying a naughty word when we stub our toe, but about being the people of faith. James insists faith must extend beyond the beliefs that we have about God, and into our everyday actions, including the words that we speak.
It matters what we say, as believers. It matters for anybody, for that matter. If we want to be people of integrity, someone who can be trusted and respected, what we say matters. If you want to be trusted, hold to your word. Our words matter. If our words are words of complaint, or bitterness, or gossip, this says something about us. If however, our words are that of kindness and encouragement, it says quite another. For believers, there’s an added importance to the words we say. The way we speak says something about the church, about faith.
James suggests that it’s like the tongue can start a fire. And if you’ve been in middle school, then you know that’s about right. James also says that the tongue can be like the bridle you might guide a horse with, or the rudder on a boat. Our tongues can steer us into disaster. OR, steer us wisely where we really ought to go, if we but listen to the message for us here in James – That we may continue to try to let the faith that we have in Jesus Christ seep into every little corner of our everyday lives, and all the way to the tip of our tongues.