The Northfield

  2535 Shore Road

  Northfield, NJ 08225


Church of Christ




Taking Care In What We Say

"With the tongue we praise or Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God's image" (Js. 3:9).

A metonymy is a figure of speech in which the use of one thing brings to mind what is naturally suggested. An example might be the common phrase, "the pen is mightier than the sword." It really has nothing to do with pens and swords, but rather that words can be more powerful than weaponry..We can all understand their actual meanings. In the third chapter, James talks about the use of the tongue and its inherent dangers. Obviously the words we say do not emanate from the tongue, but from the heart. The heart produces the words that the tongue speaks (maybe a metonymy in itself)

Then there's the paradox...A paradox is a statement or a situation that seems to contradict itself or violate common sense but nevertheless, uncovers truth. The tongue is an organ in the mouth. It is as much under human control as an arm or a leg. At least that's the way it is supposed to be. The paradox is that the tongue, a seemingly innocuous organ, keeps us on the verge of disaster. It is there like deadly poison, ready to spew forth its venom. We all fall short of domesticating our tongues.

James describes the tongue almost as if it were something external to the person. He borrows the words of Psalm 140: 3. "They make their tongues as sharp as a serpent's; the poison of vipers is on their lips."

The paradox runs deeper however. With all its potential for harm, there is no end to the blessings one can effect with the tongue. Through word, we offer adoration and praise to God. Through words we offer instruction to the right paths that should be followed. Words are to a teacher what lumber is to a carpenter. The raw materials with which build something good and strong. Maybe no gift is as distinctly human as the gift of speech. It is a blessing from God. Therein is the paradox.

As humans we are never more Christ-like than when we use words wisely. In council, in encouragement, in sympathy, in instruction, in sharing the truth of the Lord. We have so many opportunities to be a blessing to others though the wise use of our words. Lets make sure that we just pause before we speak in anger of lash out in frustration. Lets measure our words so that we will be more like Jesus when we speak. Pause! Think! Speak slowly and speak well. Build up your brothers and sisters. Pause and encourage the people around you. Remember that they share the blessing of having been created in the likeness of God.

Have a great beginning to your week...Make a difference....Love mark Phil. 4:11

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