The Titanic was a most amazing ship. At the time she was the largest cruise ship ever built and had a crew and passenger total of 3547. I guess you know that on her maiden voyage to the USA she collided with an iceberg and subsequently sunk with the loss of 1517 people. What is interesting about the ship is that its rudder that had the responsibility of turning the ship only weighed 0.22% of the total ship’s weight! It was such a tiny part of the ship yet it turned the ship to the port or to the starboard with ease. James says that the tongue is just like this rudder… it is powerful!
Many of the bushfires that are so prevalent in our nations often start from tiny sparks. Discarded cigarette butts often start the most horrific fires. Farmers ploughing in their fields often start grass fires that develop into major fire fronts. They start when a steel disc from the plough hits a rock and a spark is generated. It only takes a spark to start a fire and then within a very quick period of time all hell breaks loose with a fire storm! James likens our tongue to that of a spark that can develop a fire storm that quickly impacts those people we love!
It seems this small piece of flesh in our mouth that is used to speak words has the ability to do great things one minute and cause havoc the next! Words said often build others up but they can also destroy a person ever so quickly! James is issuing a timely warning to us to guard our tongues because it can cause catastrophic harm to others. Because we bear the name ‘Christian’ we are to be different when we use our tongue. Our tongue is the tool that sends forth what comes from our heart!
James calls on us to seek wisdom from God. He contrasts wisdom that is on offer from the world and heavenly wisdom on offer from our Creator. The two are poles apart! We are therefore urged to pursue heavenly wisdom and in turn this will help us be mindful of all we think and say. We are to be peacemakers who sow in peace to reap a harvest of righteousness. This is good advice for us as we start this New Year with words that must build up those we love and not pull down or destroy!