As I was reading thru the book of James this AM, I was reminded of how many times in this book we are exhorted to keep a close eye on the words that come out of our mouths:

  1. Be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (1:19)
  2.  If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless (1:26)
  3. Speak and act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty. For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. (2:12-13)
  4. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.  If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot direct. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.  How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by man, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, an with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. (3:2-12)
  5. Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? (4:11-12)
  6. Do not grumble against one another, brothers, so that you many not be judged: behold, the Judge is standing at the door. (5:9)

The practicalities of this as a leader and Father, Husband are profound and severe – as I read a quote from Matthew Henry this week:

Sin is more easily learned from others than holiness

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