Sometimes it’s the little things that have a large impact.
Consider the rudder on a mighty container ship designed to cross the oceans carrying millions on tons of cargo, powered by motors with many thousands of horsepower — all of it directed by a comparatively small rudder at the back of the ship.
The tongue, James says is like the rudder of that great ship. Although it is little, it has a large and significant impact on our lives and the lives of others. Elsewhere Proverbs 18:21 declares that; “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).
Who hasn’t known at times both the stinging destructive power of words spoken to us & or the healing, inspiring, uplifting power of words by those significant to us?
Who hasn’t spoken words in haste, only seconds later to wish that your lips had remained sealed or wishing you could somehow erase those words from the record or someone’s memory?
The tongue is a powerful force in our lives and the lives of others, and so we need to be careful with our tongues. And if like me there are far too many times when you haven’t been careful with your tongue, know this, that you’re not alone since James says; “We all stumble in many ways” – since no one is perfect (James 3:2). So repent, and ask God to help you to keep this powerful member of your body under tight control.
And let’s take the counsel of Ephesians 4:29 seriously when it says; “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (in NIV translation)
When it comes to our speech, this a great goal to aim for in all our speech – building others up. So ask is what I want to say helpful for building this person up?
Ask the Holy Spirit to lead you back through conversations you have engaged in over the past week. Have those built the other person up? Ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of any sin so that you can repent and God can forgive you. And because the tongue is so immensely powerful, determine to use it today for good, to build people up in their faith and in the love of God!