As we’ve seen previously, James is obviously a letter filled with conviction, and chapter three is no different. Here, James uses the first twelve verses to explain that although the tongue is a small part of the body, it “makes great boasts” and is “a world of evil among the parts of the body” (3:5-6).
James compares the tongue to a small rudder steering a large ship and a small spark which can set a large forest on fire. He says that while all types of creatures have been tamed by man, “no man can tame the tongue” (3:8).
His discourse comes to a pinnacle when he says, “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be” (3:9-10).
It’s a double standard. We praise God and then turn around and curse someone who has been “made in God’s likeness,” or made in the image of God. James says that “this should not be.”
This is a very convicting passage to me. It’s all too easy to make myself feel better about myself by putting another down, or joining in another’s conversation of putting someone else down.
I’m praying for the Holy Spirit to convict me about “taming my tongue” – for Him to prompt me when I’m about to enter into this double standard of praising and cursing.
Let’s pray for mouths that have a single standard – praising God and praising men made in His image.
This truly will change our communities and beyond if lived out.