The tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body.

James 3: 5 – 6 [NIV]


It is so easy to speak before the brain is engaged. We have all done it: come out with a comment which is ill-thought out, tactless or cruel. And what has been said cannot easily be unsaid.

The tongue is small, but it can have great power, for good or ill. James draws comparisons between the tongue and the bit of a horse and the rudder of a ship to show that, although it is small in size, it can be great in its effects.


The tongue can be used to comfort and to inspire; the tongue can give instructions and sing with joy; but the tongue also has the ability to cause destruction. Just as a forest fire can be caused by a single spark, so a few careless words can bring division and destruction on a massive scale.


Electronic communication brings many more ways in which a few ill-chosen words can destroy relationships and upset people. How quickly can a text be sent off! How easy it is to email or to Facebook someone without thinking of the consequences! And when the words are there, in black and white (as it were), how hard it is to forget them.


Richard Foster comments,


We live in a wordy world with our sophisticated high-tech telecommunications systems. We now have the dubious distinction of being able to communicate more and say less than any civilization in history.


Lord, please forgive me for the times when I did not think before speaking. Help me to weigh up my words carefully before I speak or write.


David Long
m2o Church Rugby - St. Matthew & St. Oswald

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