Quite a few years ago I developed a problem with a cough. The Dr’s found that they could not bring it under control, so they decided that I should have a biopsy taken. I remember well the insertion of that tube which felt like a four inch sewer pipe going down my throat. His comment was: “That is the strongest tongue I have ever felt.” When I was able to converse I reminded him that I was a preacher and that tongue was exercised constantly. To this day, I remain uncertain of his response, but I have little trouble envisioning what it might have been!
James reminds us how we all stumble in many ways. He also reminds us that the tongue, uncontrolled, is probably the worst part of the body to be controlled. While some people have trouble in multiplied areas, it appears that James knew that devious devil of a tongue is a vagrant, which runs rampant all too often. As a result, we will incur stricter judgment on that undisciplined rascal.
Another observation, and recorded by James, is the truth that “we all stumble”, and we do so in different ways. Remember that little ditty we used to repeat-
“I don’t smoke, and I don’t chew, and I don’t go with the girls who do?”
It was another of those dumb things we endeavor to use to justify our “stumbles”. Honesty is the best policy, and taming the tongue is a challenge, which I sometimes feel is one of the greatest disciplines one faces.
The continuing thought in this passage whereby we are challenged: “If I can bridle the tongue, I can bridle the whole body as well.” The next illustration sent me back to my childhood when I would try to bridle my pony! It is a challenge for anyone, but when I was as short as I was, it became a major challenge. However, trying to bridle that pony was indeed a challenge of challenges! Without which I was in for trouble!
James adds just a few more words that are quite understandable; if you have ever tried steering a boat…It takes little action on a steering wheel to change the course of a ship.
He finalizes all of this…the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity!
My prayer: “Lord! Help me as I strive to discipline every word I say