7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. – James 3:7-8 ESV
In the preceding verses, James gives examples of the small things that have great power. He refers to the rudder that has the power to turn a ship; and a bridle, though small, can turn the direction of a horse. The tongue, even though it is small, has the ability to bring about good or evil.
The tongue or speech of individuals can bring life or death. It can lift up or it can destroy. It can build up or tear down. It can bring unity or bring about brokenness. The speech of individuals can glorify God or taint the reputation of God within their lives. Isaiah after experiencing the holiness and glory of God looked at himself and said;
“Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.” – Isaiah 6:5-7
We need a cleansing for our speech that tears down the reputation of God in our lives. We need to repent for all the words we have spoken that have torn down, resulted in brokenness, destroyed churches, and discouraged others.
Lord forgive us for the words we have spoken that dishonored you and hurt others. Cleanse us and may our speech be filled with grace and may it bring glory to your name.