So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. James 3:5–6.
Our county has not yet been placed under Governor Wolf’s “stay at home” order. Nonetheless, we are trying to follow the state’s general guidelines:
“General guidance for Pennsylvanians: Stay home as much as possible. Try to get groceries once per week instead of daily. Freedom of travel remains, but please refrain from non-essential travel. Essential travel includes things like commuting to an essential job, picking up supplies like groceries and medicine, and checking on family and pets in other households. Do not host or attend gatherings.” (https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx)
That first guideline requires the people of God to consider James 3. Suddenly, many of us are spending day-after-day with our immediate families. The entire day. You are receiving all of their words. They are receiving all of your words. While I pray that, in the brief period of time we have been at this, you have found this extra conversation time to be a blessing, James tells us it is a bit dangerous. He says, “the tongue is a fire.”
Our tongues, the words that come out of our mouths, have the potential to do great harm. In fact, as you read all that James has written on the subject (Jas 3:1-12), you will see that controlling your words and preventing them from doing great destruction can be a hard fight. Fortunately, James already told us how to win this fight: “let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger” (Jas 1:19). Listen first. Listen with love. Then speak, in love, if it is really necessary.
Make it your goal today to win this battle. Control your words. Use them to bless and not to curse. Build up and do not tear down. Speak encouraging words about Christ and His blessings.
Here is a way you could use your words for good and get to talk to people outside of your own home: NeedHim is a ministry that is looking for volunteers to do evangelism by telephone, chat room, and text. NeedHim partners with our North American Mission Board’s Evangelism Resource Center and provides great “stay at home” opportunities for evangelism. You can apply here: https://needhim.org/get-involved/.
May God bless you as you follow Jesus today,