Over the past few weeks, I have been studying the book of James. What a practical, yet "no holds barred" book! A couple of days ago, I was reading in chapter 3 about the problem of the tongue. James compares the tongue to a bit in a horse's mouth, a ship's rudder, and a spark that can set a forest on fire! Now that's a lot of power! It is amazing that such a small part of our body can cause so much damage. Harsh words, gossip, and slander can lead to family members not speaking to each other, a split in a church congregation, and even the dissolution of a marriage or friendship. The words we say are so very important.
I have always read this section and paused to consider how my negative words are affecting those around me. I focus on whether I am griping, complaining, gossiping, etc. But recently, as I was reading the notes that go along with my Bible study, I paused when I read this quote:
"Not only must we control our tongue negatively so that we do not say things we ought not to say, we must also control our tongues positively so that we say things we should say!"
It made me wonder how many times I have thought to say something positive, encouraging or complimentary, but have chosen to remain silent! Now that put a new spin on this passage from James for me. Now I am going to look not only to control my tongue in the negative, but also in the positive. I am praying that God will give me the confidence to speak up when I feel that urge to do so. Like telling the cashier at Target that I like her haircut, or encouraging my friend by telling her what a good mother she is, or remembering to praise my child when he or she does something good.
I love it when a passage of scripture I've read many times has an entirely new meaning and application to my life. God's Word truly is "living and active"!