Summary: This sermon makes us aware that our words do harm others and offers insight on how to change our thinking so the things we say will bring up-building to others
Just so you know the title of this sermon isn’t about how to discipline my 2 year old grandson Kaden. Even though it’s pretty hard to get a handle on a 2 year old strong willed little boy , it’s even harder to get a handle on something each of us possess that is much, much smaller than a two year old. It only weighs a couple of ounces and helps us taste, talk, and drink. That’s right today we are going to talk about that Tiny Terror called the tongue, that little two ounce muscle that we all possess can cause much more destruction than anything on earth. Words rolling off our tongue can wreak havoc on a person’s emotion and spiritual well-being and as Christians we need to do all we can to keep this Tiny Terror in check.
Let’s look at our text Today: (James 3: 2 – 12) we all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, 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. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
The text today tells us that we all stumble in many different ways and if we can always be perfect in what we say we can keep our whole body in check. Basically what James is saying is that if we can get a handle on one of the smallest parts of our body everything else would be a cakewalk. It seems strange that something that is so small can cause us so much trouble doesn’t it? But James illustrates with something the people are very familiar with, a small bit in a horse’s mouth controls the direction of the Horse and a small Rudder on a sailing ship controls the direction of large ship. I found out while I was taking my part time law enforcement class that you could control a combative person simply with pointing their little finger in the right direction, you would be amazed at how fast I got on the ground and put my hands behind my back when the instructor used me for a demonstration. You see small things can control something much larger.
Think about it, you ever open your mouth and something comes out and you wish you could put it back in? We all have. When the wrong things come out accidently or even directed at someone feelings get hurt, regrets come and the problem is we can’t take it back. You ever been on a Jury or watched a crime show and a witness or lawyer says something about the defendant that isn’t part of the trial and the judge looks at the Jury and says “ignore that last statement it has no bearing on the case”, yeah right, he’s been arrested and brought to trial for the mysteries disappearing of his last 3 wives, I’ll forget I heard that. I’ll just hit the delete button in my brain and it won’t affect my reasoning on this decision. It don’t work that way, once it’s out there that’s all the Jury is going to think about.
Once harsh words or lies or gossip is out it spreads like wildfire and can take on a life of its own leaving untold amounts of destruction in its path. A fire doubles in size every minute that it is kept unchecked gossip and false teaching are no different, think about it; you tell a friend some juicy gossip, now there’s two people that tell a friend, then 4, then 8, then 16, then 32, then 64 well I could go on but you get the picture, it doesn’t take long before the whole town knows and soon after that the whole county. And once it’s out you can’t take it back. O sure wounds heal but they leave scars and sometimes relationships never heal.