All of us have suffered some kind of injustice or prejudice. Think about a time when you have felt abused and hurt because of what someone said to you or about you. In the text, James takes note of the power of the tongue. Words are powerful and can steer us one way or another. In verses 3-6, James compares the tongue to three illustrations of power: “It’s like the bit in a horse’s mouth that allows you to make a horse turn in any direction. It’s like a rudder of a ship that can cause disaster if you fail to guide the ship correctly. It’s like a forest fire that was started by the flick of the ash from a cigarette.” We must be careful of the efficacy of the tongue because the tongue reveals what is in a person’s heart. James says a destructive tongue has the following five characteristics: condemn-ing, controlling, consuming, corrupting, and compromising.

The Bible says to be careful in judging others. Do not go looking for faults in others or condemn them. Do not judge, gossip, slander or fan the flames. We should be careful to guard our hearts because they may become infected. We need to recommit ourselves to building our house together and work together rather than apart. Recommit yourself to honoring the Lord in every area of your life. When your heart is full, you start saying what is in your heart, and what we say affects others. Try loving each other. Carefully guard your heart. Do not let your spirit and heart be compromised. Listen to what you say out of the fullness of your heart. Decide from this day on that you must do things differently. Find ways to deflect arrows of evil. Hurt people hurt people.

Whoever said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” ___ Lied! Starting today, “Watch Your Mouth!”