Small but Deadly


Even more than bulging biceps, the unruly tongue packs a mighty punch.

Every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:7-8).

Some years ago I went to the Rose Parade. One of the most memorable sights of this impressive parade is when I saw a man riding down Colorado Boulevard on the back of a buffalo. I had never seen anything quite like it. I have seen buffaloes in the wild, but I had never seen anyone actually ride one. With nothing more than a bit and a bridle, the rider came galloping down the street on this beast. It was unbelievable. It just shows you what a little bit can do.

A horse controlled by a bit can render a great service. But uncontrolled, it can do much harm. In the same way, a tongue controlled by Jesus Christ can be a great blessing. But uncontrolled, it can do much damage. Just as a horse is controlled by a bit, we are controlled by our words. Think about it: one word or one statement can determine the course of our lives. For example, saying “I will” to the claims of Christ can change our eternal destiny. Our words so dramatically affect the course that our lives will take.

James says “the tongue is a little member” (3:5), which simply means that it is a small part of our body. But it can do so much damage. We may see someone with bulging biceps and muscular legs and feel intimidated. But what we ought to be worried about is that little two ounce slab of mucus membrane in his mouth—the tongue. That can do more damage than anything else.

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