James 3:5 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!
5-6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. 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 from the pit of hell.
7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can't tame a tongue—it's never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
Reading James 3 this morning, I couldn't help but picture the High Park fire. It truly demonstrates the tragedy and destruction that a tongue, like a fire, can cause. This truth is critically important as we carefully consider what words should escape our mouth. A rein must be put on our tongue so we do not speak carelessly, for many lives have been ruined by irresponsible words spoken by others or by us. Jesus says to love our brothers and sisters whom Almighty God has created in His love. Let commitment to love guide the words of our mouth.
Be especially careful over the words spoken to precious little ones, for words of love will nourish them, but words of animosity can destroy their souls. Whether parent, teacher, or friend, beware of the immense potency for harm that is in the tongue. Picture the High Park fire and it will give you a clue as to the possible destructive power of words. Learn how to tame the tongue by reading the Word aloud, by speaking the Word, by canceling an ill spoken word as soon as it leaves the mouth, covering it with a word of goodness
2nd photo by Nick Finney)