Taming the Tongue – James 3:2-12
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me. This phrase many of our parents taught as children fails to grasp how powerful our words can be. God created the cosmos with words. As people God made in his image, our words have the power to create and power to tear down. James has sobering words to tell us about the importance of taming the tongue.
God is many (if three can be considered many) and yet one. And He calls his people (who are many) to also reflect his unity. Our interactions, then, should look like his. Theologians tell us that the relationships between Father, Son and Spirit are characterized by perfect love and submission. If Jesus’ followers follow this same pattern, their words to other believers should reflect this same love and submission. This is why it’s wrong for Christians to bad-mouth other Christians: It fails to reflect the love and submission God models.
Further, our careless words can cause emotional harm and confusion in others, even words we’ve forgotten as soon as we’ve said them. And God is deeply unhappy when we harm people he loves. So It is very important that we take up the practice of taming the tongue.
Questions For Reflection
- Have you ever been hurt by careless or mean-spirited things people have said?
- How do you feel when someone insults someone you love? How does it make God feel if we insult people he loves?
- In what areas do I find it hardest to tame my tongue? Is there unresolved pain or sin behind it?
- How do I respond to insults when I know the person who is being unkind to me is reacting to their pain, and not to me?
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