The Tongue is a Fire!

“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body…” 

James 3:5-6

Have you ever lost anything in a fire? Wildfires break out every year in the mountains of southern California due to the dry, shriveling foliage. Violent winds push the flames to and fro, causing the blaze to grow and destroy everything in its path. Firemen typically spend days battling the flames and the fires eventually abate. In its wake the devastating force leaves rows of chimneys amidst dark ashes and the rubble of a neighborhood destroyed. Families not only lose their homes and belongings, but they often also lose their livelihoods.

Fire. It’s a paradox. It can cause such devastation, loss, and fear; destroying all that it finds. But, on the other hand, it can be beautiful; creating ambience and even an atmosphere for romance. A blazing fire kept in the confines of a protected environment can provide heat for warmth on a chilly evening and fuel for cooking a gourmet meal. Both destruction and creation. The common ground is power.

James tells us that our tongues are a fire. Remember the old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me?” As we all know, this isn’t true. With our words we can tear down others, leaving little in our paths, or we can build others up. More than one adult can look back to their childhood and remember the words of an unkind peer that pierced walls created to protect their hearts. Each day our words can be used to create beauty and warmth or we can create devastation and loss.

The tongue is powerful – how will you use that power today?