Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. 4 Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 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! 6 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. 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. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
1. What would you say drives your communication (speaking, messaging, disagreeing, typing) most often? Fear, guilt, idolatry, foolishness?
2. When you think about the absurd analogies James uses at the end of the passage – does your own ability to ‘praise God and curse others’ strike you as absurd? Why not?
3. What is your go to technique to excuse careless or hurtful speech? e.g. I tell it like it is, I didn’t mean it, you shouldn’t be so sensitive… How would James say faith changes that cover-up?
4. What is one way you’ve experienced Jesus seasoned words coming from someone else?
Own and extinguish your firebrands – say less/listen more – say more encouragement and grace – how would you like to see God work one of these applications into your life this week?