Just Words

wordsRead: James 3:1-11

Just Words


James 3:2 (NLT) We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way.


1.    James states in 1:26, we fool ourselves and make our “religion” meaningless if we fail to control our words.

2.    James illustrates his point: horse controlled by bit in mouth; tiny ruder directs ship; tiny spark starts forest fire; “tongue is a flame of fire”; can tame animals but not the tongue; a spring can’t produce both salt and fresh water; and figs cannot grow from a grapevine.

3.    Our words reflect what is in our heart.


Do harsh words always reflect a bitter heart? Do conceited words reflect a selfish heart and filthy words an impure heart? Do companionate and encouraging words always reflect a loving heart? James’ words on how the tongue can be used to love or serve Satan, was insightful. If a 90 pound child can control a 1200 pound horse by the bit in its mouth, then imagine the control a 190 pound dad has on his 50 pound son.

Time has softened the memory of the betrayed look on my son’s face when, for a moment, I yelled ugly words at him one morning. Picture a child’s up turned face, filled with love and admiration, gradually faded to pain and betrayal within a second of “just words”. I pray he never remembers it, and I never forget how even one word can crush a child’s heart.

The love I have for my children is immeasurable. As I matured as a man, a dad, and more importantly a Christian, God changed my words by first changing my bitter heart into one He could live in.  Jesus told the Pharisees (Mark 7:20-23) that it’s the person’s heart that defiles and makes us unacceptable to God.  We can change our vocabulary through education, but it’s only a relationship with God which can truly improve our words.


Loving Father. You have never failed to share Your unconditional loving heart with believers and nonbelievers alike. Your words to Your children have always been loving, forgiving, merciful, companionate, encouraging, and never spiteful or haughty.  Guide my words to always reflect the testimony You gave me. Direct my silence when You need me to listen. Prevent my words from harming others. Change the world through me, and the words I use always be Yours. Lead me to those I need, and to those who need You in me. Change my heart through Your word, do whatever You want with me. In Your name I pray, Amen.
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