Friday, May 11, 2007

The Tongue

Regardless of how many times I read this passage in James 3 I feel convicted.
1Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So 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! 6And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. 7For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.

You see... I grew up learning that certain words were just words. My dad used them, I used them, family used them. Barnyard language..nothing bad....just words to me. Not swearing, not using God's name in vain..THAT's just wrong.

Then I worked for a year and a bit with a lady (I did one-on-one care for special needs lady) who swore like a sailor... no kidding she did. It was for her, an effective deterrent to keeping people far away from her when she was irritated. I learned that language can indeed be an effective deterrent and a defense (not a good thing to learn).

I have to nasty habit of easily being able to pick up words and incorporate them into my language without intending to.

For the most part I can control my thoughts and stop my tongue...but add pain or injury or insult to a situation and I have to be really careful.

I am also quick to speak wrongly when I am angry.
I am slow to speak clearly when I am caught off guard.
I am so much aware that MY TONGUE, can be a huge stumbling block for myself.

I am working hard at changing it, but like many things, I want it NOW! And I get frustrated when what I want doesn't happen as quickly as I would like. I have a mimic-ing toddler to encourage me most strongly in this so that helps.

I must say though.. when I read these words:
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison
--- I fear for my abilities to be able to control this tongue of mine. The trouble it can get me with my tongue I can sing praises to God, and then turn around and speak wrongly of his people.

With my tongue I can speak flowery language and then speak not so flowery language.

As James says "these things ought not to be so"

So I stand convicted.
Ready again to repent and turn and try again harder... learning each day that only way I can tame my tongue is to plead.. God help me! (and meaning that in a good way). :)

And that's all I can say today... I stand once again, convicted.


jen elslager said...

I think we can all be convicted of this. I know I can!

Isn't it a beautiful thing to know that even though no man can tame the tongue, that God working in and through us can?

Annette said...

yes it is Jen. I have to rely on him so very much. :)