The Power in Tongue Control

Jane Douglass White

READ : James 3:2-10

A couple was seated in front of me on a plane trip. The woman complained. The seat wasn’t comfortable. She didn’t want to put her small bag in the overhead bin. The plane was too cold. When snacks were served, the bread was stale. Her companion hid behind a newspaper, as if to separate himself from her caustic tongue.

In our reading, James gives a good description of the tongue, “It only takes a spark to start a forest fire. The tongue is like a spark” (vv. 5,6, cev). Often we are tempted to speak before we think. We make remarks we later regret. But when we use our tongue to say words of encouragement or appreciation rather than hurtful criticism, we are a blessing. So God multiplies our blessings.

An executive secretary grew so lonely and depressed that she was even thinking of suicide. As Christmas approached, her depression deepened. When she was leaving the office for the Christmas holiday, her boss stopped her and handed her a package. “Merry Christmas,” he said, “I wouldn’t be able to run this business without your caring and efficient help. Thank you for the many important things you do.” Who knows but that these words may have saved her life?


Heavenly Father, help me to use my tongue to give encouragement and appreciation to others. I want to be more like Jesus. Amen.