Say Don’t Say: Praise God Curse Men

“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.” (James 3:9-10)

For a few days, we’ve listened as James has described the destructive power of words. But “the tongue,” our ability to communicate with words, isn’t just some kind of diabolical weapon. It’s not a club that can be used only for hitting.

fishmouth_350What makes the destructive nature of our words even more upsetting for James is that we’re also capable of using words for incredibly good things. Our words are not like guns, designed only to kill or wound people and animals. You never blame a gun for shooting bullets. That’s what guns do.

But we do blame “tongues” for hurting others, because we have the option of using words to help and to encourage and to praise God. Proverbs 25:11 says that the right word delivered in the right moment is a beautiful thing. The fact that we tend to ignore that option makes the destructive nature of our thoughtless words all the sadder.

Think: Can you think of a time when you have used words to praise God and insult a person in the same day? Why does James write that “this should not be”?

Pray: Prayer dare: Ask God to make you uncomfortable using words to put anyone down for any reason this week.

Do: Keep track of how many times you use words today to say negative things about other people. Compare that to the kinds of things you say about the God who made those people in His likeness.