There was always an unwritten rule in school… Humble the biggest bully and nobody else will ever mess with you.
And the biggest bully in my life is my tongue.
We were also taught to say
Sticks and stones
may break my bones
will never hurt me.
And then we become adults and realize that rule wasn’t the full story. Sure, being called names doesn’t have to hurt me, but our deepest hurts are usually traced back to hurtful words spoken against us.
Words are powerful and influential. James says the tongue is like a fire that can create massive destruction. It’s like a poison that can kill and otherwise healthy person. It’s like a serpent that bites and causes deep pain.
And James makes a point we shouldn’t miss…
All of us do many wrong things. But if you can control your tongue, you are mature and able to control your whole body.
James 1:2 CEV
Lust, greed, jealousy, envy, addiction to pleasure… they’re all powerful tendencies, but none of them is a bigger problem than the tongue. So, often, the pathway to mastering those challenges is to overcome the bigger challenge first – the tongue.
How do you take on this awful bully and humble it once and for all? It’s not simply a matter of suppressing our words. It goes deeper than that.
It’s about the heart.
James goes on to make a comparison…
Can clean water and dirty water both flow from the same spring?
James 1:11 CEV
To change the words coming out of our mouths, we need healing at the source – a heart in need of repentance, grace, and renewal.
So start with prayer. Like this… God, I’m sorry for the hurtful things I’ve said to others. Please break my heart over those things. I give my heart to you and ask you to renew me from the inside out. Help me to be a spring of fresh water to people around me today – offering words of encouragement, affirmation, and positivity. Help me to speak the truth in love and to share the good news about Jesus as often as I can.