Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. —James 3:4
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. —James 3:7-8
Man can guide massive vehicles with very little instruments. An oil tanker, the Seawise Giant, was in service from 1979-2009. It was 1504.1 feet long, weighed 260, 851 gross tons and was guided by a 230 ton rudder. Today the world’s largest oil tanker is the Knock Nevis (580,000 tons). It takes 5.5 miles to stop with a turning circle of over 2 miles. It takes nearly 15 minutes to turn 180 degrees. Yet, compared to the vessel itself, man can navigate this tanker with a very small rudder.
According to the verses above, man can tame all kinds of creatures as well as guide large ships with rudders that are a very small per cent of the vessel. One thing man cannot tame or guide his body properly with is the tongue. Like a rudder the tongue is a very small per cent of the body, but it surely can guide the body into destructive purposes.
Harsh words can stir up fury (Proverbs 15:1). Jeroboam caused the split of the nation with his harsh words (II Chronicles 10:12-17). Words can be insulting (Psalm 59:7). Ten times his friends insulted him, crushing him with their words (Job 19:2-3). Words stir up conflict and even separates close friends (Proverbs 16:28). Yes, the little rudder of the body, the tongue, can be very destructive. Look at the world and see if that is not the case. Look at your extended family and see if that is not the case.
No man can tame the tongue— no man. It takes the Holy Spirit of God to tame man’s tongue, to control the tongue. A man need’s to trust the Lord Jesus Christ to have His tongue guided properly.
Let me just give a brief example of this. The 3rd commandment of the Ten Commandments says, “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name” (Exodus 20:7). In our culture here in the United States you can hear this done all the time. Go into a work place, into a school or just out and about and you will hear people say “Jesus Christ” just to punctuate their sentences. Those who do not know Jesus do not understand that they are actually breaking God’s Law by doing this and that they are doing this in rebellion to Him, but they cannot control their tongue from doing so. It is only when a person trusts the Lord Jesus Christ that the Holy Spirit of God can control their tongue to honor Jesus instead of using His Name in a blasphemous, profane or offensive way.
The tongue uncontrolled can cause much destruction, but the tongue controlled by God can bring much good. What is the status of my tongue and yours— uncontrolled or controlled?
Dear Father please help me to speak with You in control of my tongue that I might be an encouragement to people and not harmful to them. Oh, I am grateful to know that my tongue can be controlled by You. May I speak to honor You and to be helpful to others.