Genuine Wisdom

“[The tongue] is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison,” (James 3:9).

A hotheaded woman told John Wesley, “My talent is to speak my mind.”

Wesley replied, “Woman, God wouldn’t care a bit if you buried that talent.”

Our tongue reveals a lot about us: what we think, how we spend our time, and where we live.  James deals with the tongue in his chapter on wisdom.  Why wisdom?  Proverbs 12:18 says that “the tongue of the wise brings healing,” and in 18:21 that “death and life are in the power of the tongue.”  Words have the power to heal or destroy.

The tongue guides life (verses 2-3).  A small piece of metal in a horse’s mouth can guide and make a horse turn.  A farmer once said, “Horse sense is seldom hitched to a waggin’ tongue.”  A small piece of wood or metal can turn a massive ship around.  And our little tongue can change a person’s life.

The tongue harms life (verses 5-8).  The tongue is like a tiny spark that can destroy a whole forest in flames.  The tongue can rip a person to shreds, as surely as a wild animal.  A tongue lashing can poison a person’s whole life.  A sharp tongue is no indication of a keen mind.

The tongue blesses life (verses 11-12).  Words can refresh a person like a fountain spring on a hot day.  The tongue can give encouragement and strength, like the sweetest fruit from a tree.

Did you ever notice that it takes a child two years to learn to talk, yet it takes a man his whole life to learn how to keep his mouth shut?

A wise person’s words are not laced with profanity.  Rather, they are laced with purity, peace, gentleness, mercy, friendship, and integrity (verse 17).  What do your words reveal about you?

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