Read. James 3:4-12
4 Consider ships: They are so large that strong winds are needed to drive them. But pilots direct their ships wherever they want with a little rudder. 5 In the same way, even though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts wildly.
Think about this: A small flame can set a whole forest on fire. 6 The tongue is a small flame of fire, a world of evil at work in us. It contaminates our entire lives. Because of it, the circle of life is set on fire. The tongue itself is set on fire by the flames of hell.
7 People can tame and already have tamed every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish. 8 No one can tame the tongue, though. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we both bless the Lord and Father and curse human beings made in God’s likeness. 10 Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, it just shouldn’t be this way!
11 Both fresh water and salt water don’t come from the same spring, do they? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree produce olives? Can a grapevine produce figs? Of course not, and fresh water doesn’t flow from a saltwater spring either.
Reflect. The apostle James, Jesus’ brother, found a painful irony in one way people speak. “With [our tongue] we both bless the Lord and Father and curse human beings made in God’s likeness. Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth,” he wrote. Reflecting on this passage in his book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White, Pastor Adam Hamilton asks, “Does the Lord give us an exemption from practicing the Scriptures when it comes to our political leaders?”
• Sociologists note that in war, soldiers start using dehumanizing nicknames for people on the other side. It seems to become easier to kill other people if we stop thinking of them as people, as human. In what ways have you seen similar patterns in political “combat,” when the “bullets” are words? Have you ever become friends with a person, later found that you hold different political opinions, and realized that the degrading labels you’ve used for “those people” may not be true?
COMMUNITY PRAYER LIST
Doug Lawson. Collier. Glenn Ethridge. Adam Funderburk. Mary Reber. Linda Harmon. Betty Carolyn Ward. Albert Rasanke. Lois Robinson. Ross Henley. Tiny & Donald Creasman. Bill and Barbara Buchanan. Bonnie Brenner. Baker Family. Robert McKenzie Family. Kibler family. Carolyn Harlow. Jeff Green. Earl Graves. Mickey Huff. Huff & Welch families. Helen Leigh. Paul Huffman. Schools, Teachers, Staff, Parents, Students. Church regathering plans. Layman family. Charlene Withrow. Brandon Casteel. Dirk Orr family. Smith family. Crowder family. Lillard family. Family of Floyd Eaton. Family of Eddie Rynes. Robertson Family. Harmon Family. Nancy Ryan & family. Bobby Roberts. Elizabeth May & family. Melvin Rinehart. Susan Rogers. Brandon Haugh.
Our current teaching series, The Power of Words, was adapted from a series developed by our partners at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and used with permission. Many of the resources and graphics are provided by our partners. During this series, our Read.Reflect.Pray. guide publishes the daily devotional guide (called Grow, Pray, Study) from our partners with minor adaptation.