Your Tongue Is Very Small... But Very Powerful By George Stroh, Senior Pastor September 21, 2009
"So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things."(James 3:5)
There is an old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Of course as everyone knows, words can and often do hurt. Your tongue may be small, but it can do much harm, as well as, much good.
As I write this, there are several out-of-control forest fires raging in California. These are major fires that have already destroyed thousands of acres of trees and hundreds of homes and other structures. These fires were started with one small spark, usually caused by someone who innocently, but carelessly, starts a fire that can quickly spread.
James uses this forest fire analogy because it is a good picture of how much damage our words can cause. He also uses two other analogies, horses and ships, to remind us that powerful things can and should be controlled by much smaller things; "Now if we put the bits into the horses' mouth so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires." (James 3:3-4).
Your tongue, when under control, can be used very powerfully for good. Your words can be a blessing both to God and to others. You bless God when you worship Him, praise Him and thank Him with your tongue; "..,speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;" (Ephesians 5:19).
You and I have abundant opportunities each day to bless others with our words-- words of kindness, words of encouragement, words of wisdom, words of warning, words of compassion and blessing that can have a powerfully and positive impact upon others. The spoken words sharing the Gospel message that leads others to salvation in Christ is the ultimate blessing.
But of course our words can also have a powerful negative impact upon others when they are spoken in anger, spoken carelessly without regard for the feelings of others and not seasoned with God's grace and mercy.
As in all areas of our daily Christian walk, when we speak, we need to "be imitators of God, as beloved children;..." (Ephesians 5:1). Our words should be carefully chosen to bring glory and honor to God and blessing and edification to others. Whenever you sin with your tongue by saying something that you shouldn't have said, be quick to stomp out that fire you started. Limit the damage by repenting, speaking the truth in love and asking for forgiveness.
Also, be careful not to withhold those words that will bless others; "Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin." (James 4:17). Remember that your words are indeed powerful and that you are capable of doing much harm and much good with your tongue; "..If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well." (James 3:2) Maranatha!