by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: James 2:18-3:18; Psalms 118:1-18
READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
James 3:5 “So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!”
The Apostle James had a situation to handle. Many Christians in the church he had written the letter to, cannot seem to tame their tongues. As such, disunity and chaos were rampant. People got hurt by untamed tongues and unrighteousness pursues. James parallel an untamed tongue to be “restless evil” and “full of deadly poison”. With the same tongue, we praise God; and with the same tongue we curse others who are made in the likeness of God. What strong phrases the Apostle had used! Yet we know in our hearts that what he said is true.
A child’s future can be destroyed by parents’ consistent verbal abuse. A teenager might attempt suicide due to bullying ways and words used by so called “friends”. Divorces might occur due to something said between the husband and wife. Indeed the tongue can be a very powerful tool – both for edification as well as having the potential to destroy. May the Lord help us to tame the tongue and use it only for His glory.
In this day and age, there is another type of “tongue” we need to be aware of. This will be the “tongue” of social media. Almost everyday, we use emails, WhatsApp, SMS etc to “speak” to one another. In this domain, we also need to ask God for help to be in self control. In fact, it is even easier to allow this “second tongue” to run wild; especially when we do not have to see the person whom we are communicating with. This is why when “controversial” topics arise, there also arises many keyboard warriors who usually make matters worse. We need God’s help (wisdom from above) to tame this second tongue as well. As James reminded us in 3:17-18: “But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
Lord our God, may you help us to see the importance of taming our physical tongue as well as the “second tongue” in our minds and hearts. May we grow to be pure, peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and bearing good fruits for Your glory. Amen.