Sticks and Stones James 3:1 -12
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
What Does the Passage Say?
V. 1-2 Not everyone can become a teacher because we will be judged by our teachings.
V. 3-6 Word is a powerful tool. It could save lives, but at the same time, it can destroy others.
V. 7-12 It is hard to tame a tongue. However, this cannot go on. Our words have to represent our Lord, who dwells in us.
What Does the passage Mean to Me/Us?
The wise word of James follows his challenge to God’s people to work out our faith.
In the same way, our faith has to be shown in work, James is saying that our words have to reflect our Lord.
He warns us, not to be teachers. Living out our faith, by teaching others, comes with great responsibilities. When there are followers, who teach others, but do not live according to the Word, ‘will be judged with greater strictness.’
Then James transitions into the importance of the words that we use.
He shows how a word has the power to save and also destroy. The Message Bible says, “It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell” (v.5-6 The Message).
We might be tempted to look and someone else than ourselves when it comes to following the word. But we need to remember that our Lord speaks to us, through the Word, and we are to carefully examine our lives, in front of the Word.
Do my words reflect the Word of God inside me?
Lord, help us to live according to your Word, today. In Christ Name, we pray, AMEN.
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