"A mouth of fire"
By John Ankrom
In the book of James chapter 3 and in verse 6 we find these words "the tongue is a fire" When I read this verse I always think of dragons, you know those big lizards that fly and spew fire and brimstone and brings nightmares to small children. Now we all know that fire breathing dragons are not real, but James tell us that the fire of the tongue is real and causes great damage if left unchecked.
Just as the fire from our imaginary dragon will scorch, consume and destroy everything it touches, and leave nothing but charred remains, our tongue likewise, if left unchecked, will leave behind great heaps of mangled destroyed lives, lives that are scared, lives that fester in distrust and hatred.
James also tells us in verse 6 that the tongue is a world of iniquity and it defiles the whole body. Literally our tongue or our words can become unjust, morally wrong, and full of unjust accusations where we bring lies and half truths to bear, this has the implication of being vicious. This type of speech will defile the whole person.
When our words or our tongues, become unjust or morally wrong, harsh, uncaring and accusing, our whole body (meaning our hearts or our minds if you will) become contaminated, we become unclean, impure, we desecrate the temple of God. Paul in I Corinthians 3:16-17 tell us we are the temple of God and if any man defiles that temple God shall destroy him.
Knowing this then, should we not be keeping a tight rein on our tongues?
Again Paul tells us in Colossians 4:6 "Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man" One of the great things about salt, it not only makes things taste better and preserves food, it will also put out a fire!
Let us bridle our tongues, let us clamp down on our bits and rein in our words and speak only those things that will uplift and build up those around us. A kind and gentle word will go a long way in defusing small smoldering fires that get started by words spoken carelessly and without thinking. "Speak not evil one of another brethren" James 4:11. As I was told as a youngster "if you can't say anything good about someone, then don't say anything at all" in other words keep your mouth shut!