What struck me most about today’s reading is that it reads like a poem. The tongue is compared to a bridle that guides a horse and to a rudder that guides a ship. It is a small flame that starts a forest fire. It is a small part of the body but can cause your entire self to spend eternity is hell or paradise. No man can truly control their tongue without the help of God.
James’ admonitions on being careful about what you say are juxtaposed with his admonitions form the previous chapter that faith without works is dead. James seems to be saying that faith should produce a change of the whole person. That having come to faith a person should do good works and speak kind words. He sums up his teaching on the inner change that should be reflected by our outer words:
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, gentle, compliant, full of mercy and good fruits, without inconsistency or insincerity. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace for those who cultivate peace.