If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.
Do you attend church regularly? Do you read your Bible? Do you have a decent prayer life? Do you attend a regular study? Do you have a few verses memorized? Do you give some money to the church? Do you serve in some way? All of those things are wonderful, of course, but completely worthless if you don’t have control over your tongue.
Don’t blame me! That’s exactly what God intended for James to write down. The word picture of a bridle is pretty strong, but a better translation of the original Greek word would be “muzzle.” If you don’t clamp down on that tongue of yours, and go about your business thinking you are still a pretty good Christian, you are deceiving yourself. You may indeed be very religious, but according to God’s Word, your hurtful words cancel all of it out.
If I surveyed the people in your life, what would they tell me about the words that come out of your mouth? What would my family and friends and radio audience say about mine? Over and over again the Book of James will point us back to the words we choose to share with the world. And over and over again it should cause every one of us to pause, and think twice before we utter any more of them.
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