James continues his comments on the tongue with this.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (3:7-8 NIV)
We are an advanced civilization. We have done amazing things. We can get a killer whale to perform for audiences. We can train dogs to be the eyes for the blind. We can even get dogs to warn seizure patients when a seizure is about to happen. But, we CANNOT train the tongue.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. (3:9-12 NIV)
We shame Him. We talk the talk about how wonderful He is and then turn around and say such despicable things about the very creatures He poured so much love into. How ungrateful is that??
We criticize, we slander, we curse, we lie about other people. Sometimes it is not intentional. Sometimes it is intentional. Think of what you are doing here.
David states in Psalm 140:3
They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent’s; the poison of vipers is on their lips. (NIV)
It really saddens me to hear what comes out the mouth of someone of professes to be a Christian. After the election, the downright nasty things said about the new president out of Christian mouths was shocking. Do you know him? Do you know his heart (not what his aides say or tell him to say) like God does? Should you be saying things about him to slander his name when you should be using the tongue to pray for him and the country? What is a Christian’s role? To tell others about Christ, to show love, to be the light of Christ to a dark world. In most conversations that I listen to, NONE of this being done by “Christians”. They use foul language, they gossip about their sisters, they refuse to show kindness to those in need, they spread rumors. Let me note here that ALL Christians DO NOT do this. But more than enough do that to give our Lord’s followers a very bad name. Your very action of saying bad things about an elected official could be all a non-Christian sees. Do you want that to be what God says to you on judgment day?
Our tongue can do more damage to those around us. Let’s use it to build the kingdom which is what He wants us to do. This week think about how you really use your tongue. It can make an eternal difference.