The argument James makes about the power of our words continues through chapter 3 of his letter.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind,
8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.
10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Although humans have proved our ability to tame all kinds of wild animals, we have been unable to tame even our own tongues. All of us have said things we later wished we hadn’t. All of us have spoken words that we cannot take back. We hypocritically praise God and then turn around and curse people with the same mouth.
This doesn’t work, does it? It should not be. To praise God and then curse people is to reveal a fake, inauthentic faith. We need transformation. We need healing. We need the Lord’s help to tame our tongues.
Father in Heaven, teach us to surrender ourselves to you each day of our lives… our hands to do your work, our feet to go where you call, our eyes to look at others with love, and our tongues, to speak that which builds up and does not tear down, that which blesses and does not curse. In Jesus’ name. Amen.