Summary: Tonight we start chapter three of the book of James and discover the power of the tongue.
Tonight we start chapter three of the book of James and discover the power of the tongue. We have titled tonight’s message “Open Mouth, Insert Foot.” Have you ever done that?
Illustration: Children are good at doing this…of course they don’t realize it because they don’t know any better.
1.) When I was six months pregnant with my third child, my three year old came into the room when I was just getting ready to get into the shower. She said, "Mommy, you are getting fat!" I replied, "Yes, honey, remember Mommy has a baby growing in her tummy." "I know," she replied, but what’s growing in your butt?"
2.) One summer evening during a violent thunderstorm a mother was tucking her son into bed. She was about to turn off the light when he asked with a tremor in his voice, "Mommy, will you sleep with me tonight?" The mother smiled and gave him a reassuring hug. "I can’t dear," she said. "I have to sleep in Daddy’s room." A long silence was broken at last by his shaky little voice: "The big sissy."
3.) A kindergarten pupil told his teacher he’d found a cat. She asked him if it was dead or alive. " Dead." She was informed. "How do you know?" she asked her pupil. "Because I pissed in its ear and it didn’t move," answered the child innocently. "You did WHAT?!?" the teacher exclaimed in surprise. "You know," explained the boy, "I leaned over and went ’Pssst!’ and it didn’t move."
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brother, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his 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 for 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. (A small rudder on a ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets course in the face of the strongest winds). Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. (A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it!)
Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. (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 out from the pit of hell.)
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man 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 men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.