Speaking to the Soul – March 19


We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. James 3:3-5

The tongue is incredibly powerful, for good or ill.

I recall the story of a young man who shared some gossip about the local clergyman. Having heard about the rumours, the clergyman, with great gentleness and wisdom, took the young man to the top of the church tower. Once there, he handed him a feather pillow and asked him to rip it open.

The feathers floated all over the village. Some of them, lifted by the air currents, headed off into the far distance. The clergyman then invited the young man to put the feathers back into the pillow. The young man protested: it was impossible!

The clergyman pointed out that it was exactly the same with the rumours he had been spreading.

Once our words have been spoken, they take on a life of their own. They cannot be taken back. This places an enormous responsibility on all of us, and particularly on those of us who are teachers and preachers. This chapter begins by James asserting that not many should presume to be teachers, because we will be judged more strictly than others!

Harsh, badly chosen words can wound people for years to come. I have met many people who believe that their confidence was crushed as a child by cruel words spoken by parents, teachers and others. But the opposite is also true. Well-chosen words can bring life, encouragement and joy. Thank God for the amazing people who have gone out of their way to encourage us over the years. What a gift!

Who could you encourage today?

Lord, forgive me that I have often chosen my words badly. Teach me to speak words that will bring life, peace and joy wherever they go. Amen