Read James 3:3-5. Prov. 15:11, Luke 9:51-56, 2 Kings 1:10, 12 Little Things Become Big Things
We’ve all experienced it. Something we said gets magnified, perhaps even exaggerated to the point that we don’t even recognize it anymore. As James says, “See how great a forest a little fire kindles” (James 3:5).
Not only can a large fire start from a spark, it can also destroy with amazing speed. In the same way, words can destroy friendships, marriages, and reputations. They can sink into a child’s mind and mar his or her self-concept and future development.
Blessing and cursing should not proceed out of the same mouth. If you are wise and endued with knowledge you will show out of a good conversation the Father’s works with meekness and wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This fleshly wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be obedient to, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace (James 3:10-18).
While it is true that words once spoken are irreversible and that we may not fully undo what we have said, we should do all we can to lessen the damage and correct what we can. Taking steps to make things right will also help us not to repeat the same mistakes. For example, after a further revelation from Yahweh, Nathan the prophet returned to David immediately to correct something he had said (see 2 Sam. 7:1-17). Peter wept bitterly over his denial of Christ and later demonstrated more openly the genuineness of his repentance (John 21:15-17). Saying “I’m sorry” is something every Christian should learn how to say from the depth of his heart.
Though “no man” without Christ can tame the tongue, it can still be tamed. James 3:8 says to “keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking lies” (Ps. 34:13). When we have been born again of the Holy Spirit, we have the strength within us to control our tongues. The Holy Spirit within us guides and teaches us how. There is no power in our fleshly nature to control it, but through the power and nature of the Holy Spirit we are able to put on the mind of Christ and be in the image of our Heavenly Father. (See Eph. 4:29-32.)