Even as followers of Jesus, some of the things that come out of our mouths are reckless, and we usually recognize these immediately. Less apparent are cruel things that take the form of “I’m just messing with you”, or “I’m just very competitive.” We also attempt humor at someone else’s expense. Making fun of someone in front of others to get a laugh can be particularly degrading. It is never appropriate to harass or bully someone with these tactics. Recognizing what is said and the impact it has, we can understand the importance of controlling our speech. Excerpted from their excellent book, Words That Heal: 40 Encouraging Stories Inspired by James 3:1-12, Michael Ross and Brian Doyle make the point in a powerful way.
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! (James 3:7-10)
The writer of this passage, James (a brother of Jesus), makes clear what most of us feel all too often: Words can be cruel. In fact, they can hurt...even destroy. Reckless words can weaken a person's self-confidence. This includes those seemingly innocent cuts, slams, and jabs; those playful--but unkind and unflattering—labels we like to pin on others. We use reckless words at church, in the workplace, in our families, and all throughout our communities. But the wounds caused by reckless words often don't heal for many years, if ever. They enter our ears and burrow themselves deep into our hearts. They may be stored deep in the mind, but they are never completely forgotten. "Does anyone want to live a life that is long and prosperous? Then keep your tongue from speaking evil and your lips from telling lies!"
In what ways do you need to tame your tongue? "Some people make cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing"
What are some healing words that you plan to share? Who in your life needs them the most? —Mike