Hold Your Tongue

James 3:1-18

James 3:3-6, “When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 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. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”

James isn’t going easy on the tongue. As I thought about this passage… this week… my first thought was, but the tongue can do so much good. And I thought… And I thought…

Maybe James is right. When I was growing up, it was harder to recall praise from my parents. I know they loved me, but love wasn’t always shown from the tongue. Then I thought about how I was treated… how I treat my children. I wonder if they can recall praise from me more than reprimand.

James 3:7-11, “All kinds of animals, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in GOD’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grape vine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”

I have been working on verse 8 “no man can tame the tongue.” And I agree it isn’t easy, and it can’t be tamed, but it can get better. Especially the less I use it.

There is a cute song by Walk The Moon, called “Shut up and dance.” It’s a story about a gentleman J who sees a beautiful girl that he knows is his destiny. He wants to dance with her. So he asks and he tells her you are my destiny, deep in your eyes I see our future. Can you see her rolling her eyes? But no, she grabs his hand and leads him to the dance floor and this beautiful girl replies “Oh don’t you dare look back! Just keep your eyes on me! Shut up and dance!

This made me think of the hymn “Lord of the Dance” where the chorus line is “Dance then wherever you may be, I am the Lord of the Dance said he. And I’ll lead you all wherever you may be and I’ll lead you all in the Dance said he.”

I think I’ll start paying more attention to my tongue. And I think, truly, I need to shut up and dance more!

Precious Father, Loving God, Holy Spirit help me to understand that what I say will affect those I speak to. Help me Lord so that when I need to speak, I speak in love, and if I can’t Lord, then please help me to not look back, keep my eyes on you and just Shut Up and Dance! AMEN!

Jim Dietvorst

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