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! And the tongue is a fire. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. (James 3:5-6a, 9-10)
James compares the damage the tongue can do (the things we say) to a raging fire. A forest fire always starts small, but see how quickly it can get out of control and the devastation it can cause. A simple yet powerful analogy. And why is it that out of the same mouth with which we praise and worship God also come words that put down the very thing that God has created…..our fellow human-beings, our neighbour?
A few throwaway words spoken in anger can destroy a relationship. Our contradictory thoughts and speech is very confusing and damaging. Another verse at the beginning of this chapter simply says, “For all of us make many mistakes.” Perhaps if, before we speak today, we remember that our words can be like a raging fire we might not make so many mistakes. Let the words you speak today be pleasing to God.