Summary: 20 undeveloped seed thoughts relating to James' teaching

(Proverbs 18:21;

italics mine). Nick Young counted some twenty

positive things in the Scriptures that the tongue

can do, and twenty negative things. A great ruler

once sent a gift of meat, the carcass of an animal,

to a philosopher with the request that the philosopher

send back the best part and the worst

part of the gift. The philosopher fulfilled both

requests with a single gift. He returned the tongue

of the animal. The poet expressed this double

potential this way:

A careless word may kindle strife;

A cruel word may wreck a life;

A bitter word may hate instill;

A brutal word may smite or kill.

A gracious word may smooth the way;

A joyous word may light the day;

A timely word may lessen stress;

A loving word may heal and bless.

There is no way to overemphasize the power

of words. The judge speaks a few words and a

man.s entire life is altered. The President speaks

a few words to influential men and the fate of a

nation is changed. A preacher, a teacher, and a

parent speak a few words and eternity is affected!

To continue this thought further, we must

strive to control our tongues. . . .


1. Despite being able to tame wild animals, man is unable to tame the tongue!

Or, on the positive

side, we might think of the words of Churchill

which strengthened a nation and inspired the


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