For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.
Have you ever said something that you wish you had never said? I have. And then, trying to bail myself out of that predicament, all I did was to get myself into deeper trouble. Had I stopped, apologized, and said what I had intended to say, the subject would have been dropped. Instead it has followed me like an old hound dog. Others, in their love toward me, have been most gracious. It is I that hear it being repeated even in these, my later years.
From what James says in the second verse of chapter 3, “If any man does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well”. I draw a sigh of relief because I feel that I am not alone, yet, the same experience causes me to feel as though I could crawl under something and hide.
I have built boats and kayaks, and know what James is referring to when he describes the tongue is like the rudder of a ship. Certainly it is small in comparison to the craft itself, but it can turn the vessel in any direction it needs to go. It is a masterpiece and the person who controls it controls the ship.
James again hits at the problem of the tongue and likens it to a small flame of fire. That very small flame can set a forest on fire. “The tongue is a fire, the very world of iniquity, the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” And where did it say it originated: Hell!
Might we not read further and see how it is virtually impossible to tame this rascal. You can tame beasts, but your tongue?
We do not want to try to bring fresh and salt water out of the same fountain. It is not realistic!
The only possible remedy is to go to the Savior and ask Him for the remedy which He alone can supply. Lord! Through your Holy Spirit, help us to control this little “rudder”. If you are sincere you will experience His enablement.