James’ Thoughts on Taming the Tongue

I was doing my morning Bible reading today and came to the book of James. I’ve been really slack lately in my reading. I need to pick up the pace again. Like everything if you get out of the habit of something, it is very difficult to get back into.

(Photo by AntToeKnee/Flickr)

(Photo by AntToeKnee/Flickr)

Anyway, several Sundays ago at church we read this same section in James. Chapter 3 of James is all about the tongue. How such a small part of our body can ruin us. I remember that it hit me as we were sitting there that James being the brother of Jesus is talking about how difficult it is to control our words. V 9 says that With it we bless our Lord and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. Wow. That had different context for me when I thought that this was coming from James.

Think about it. The book of James is thought to be the earliest written book of the new testament. It comes before the Gospels. It comes before the letters of Paul. This is James writing to his friends and family. He is basically posting to his wall and sharing with all his network.

He knows his past. He recalls all the family arguments. He is likely writing this as he thinks of all the times that he fought and cursed Jesus. Let’s face it, siblings have a way of using words to lash out against each other. I know that my brother and I had vicious arguments. We said mean things to each other. That’s what siblings often do, right?

Yet, at the time of writing the book, James has seen the other side of the cross. He was able to see Jesus crucified, dead, and living again. His whole perspective on life changed. Upon seeing Jesus at the end (which really wasn’t the end, but you get my point) James has a totally different perspective of the birth story of his brother, of times in egypt, of times in Nazareth growing up, of times at the temple, of times in their dad’s workshop…

Yet seeing all of this, James still has a problem with his tongue. He knows that it is difficult to control.

Makes me feel better, but convicts me that I need to double my effort to build up and not put down.

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