All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
It’s really hard to keep your mouth shut, isn’t it? Most of us feel the need to respond verbally to just about everything, and our lack of restraint takes us down roads that we should not travel. James makes a powerful contrast in today’s passage: we can tame all kinds of animals, large and small… but we can’t tame our own tongues.
Is there any hope for us, then?
The Psalmist implores God, “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips!” In this short passage, we see the one hope we have in this battle over the restless evil that lurks behind our teeth: the power of God. Think back to before you were a Christian and consider what used to come out of your mouth. Hopefully, most of us have made a lot of progress in terms of the obvious things like swearing and telling crass jokes, but there is still a long way to go, isn’t there?
Galatians 5:16 points us in the right direction: But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. The flesh desires to speak out whenever it can whereas the Spirit gives us the strength to say “no.” If you have the Spirit of God within you, then HOPE is the name of the game! You can go ahead and say, “Amen” to that.