Read: James 3:1-18
Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. James 3:18
We all know the rhyme – sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. And we all know that it’s hog-wash. Complete and utter nonsense. How many wounds and scars do we bear that were inflicted, not by sticks and stones, but by the words that came out of someone’s mouth. I think what hurts even more is knowing that I’ve allowed words to come out of my mouth that have brought pain and shame upon someone else.
James really nailed it. Verse 5 says, “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” One sarcastic comment, one seemingly harmless dig, and the whole forest is on fire. Just look at Facebook or Twitter – now there’s a firestorm!
As a parent, I often remind my kids to THINK before they SPEAK. Sometimes this happens, sometimes it does not. Most of the time when I say it, it’s in response to something cutting that’s already come out of their mouths – when it’s too late to take it back. After the damage has been done. When the tears are already flowing. But this isn’t just a kid problem, is it? Angry words, thoughtless words, curse words (keepin’ it real here) – come out of my mouth more often than I’d like to admit.
If the spark of a hurtful word can set the whole forest on fire, does the same hold true if the words are good? I think so! A word of encouragement, hope, love, forgiveness can set our very souls on fire. A word of blessing can be a game changer for someone – and we have the power to make it happen!
So today, let’s not only work on taming our tongue, but let’s work on purposefully using it to bless the people around us! Who can you say an encouraging word to today?
Heavenly Father, I confess that far too often my tongue brings complaints, judgement, gossip and angry words – please forgive me. I pray that you help me to purposefully use my words to bring blessing and encouragement and love to someone today. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.