The Terror of Our Tongues

Scripture: James 3:9, ‘With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.’


Observations: James has been talking about how dangerous the tongue is. He calls it a ‘world of evil that corrupts the whole person and sets the whole course of his life on fire. (v6)’ He says it is untameable, ‘a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (v8)’ The problem is that the tongue can be used for both good and evil. With the tongue ‘we praise our Lord and Father.’ Elsewhere the Bible talks about using our tongue, or our words, to encourage one another, and build each other up, and bring healing. However, with our tongues, we also ‘curse men.’ We can use our tongues to hurt others, to tear them down, and discourage people. The Proverbs write, ‘Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Prov 12:18)’ And ‘The tongue has the power of life and death… (Prov 18:21a)’ It’s interesting that James makes the point that men are ‘made in God’s likeness.’ Rather than just saying cursing men is bad, he tells us why it’s bad, because by cursing men we curse what God has created, and even curse God’s likeness within men. In a round about way we are cursing God. James solution is to keep our tongues in check. Praise and cursing should not be (v10). He writes, ‘If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man. (v2)’


Application: How much control do you have over your tongue? How often do you find yourself saying the wrong thing, or something in the wrong way? How often do your words pierce like a sword instead of bringing healing? How often do your words discourage people instead of encourage them? I encourage you today to use your tongue to bring glory to God, and if you stumble, ask forgiveness of that person and God, use your tongue to bring healing.


Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, You have given me my tongue, that I might praise You and encourage others, and yet so often I use my words to discourage or hurt others. Lord, I ask Your forgiveness. Fill me with Your Spirit that I might speak words that bring life and joy. May Your praises be always on my lips. May I honour You today with what I say. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


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