Coming through a contentious election year has left our nation bloodied and divided. Echoes of threats, accusations, false promises, and general character assassination continue to ripple through our minds like the relentless surge of waves on a seashore. The election is over. But the healing of deep wounds inflicted has just begun.
The church has not been immune to the vicious crossfire. Members of congregations point fingers at each other questioning the sanity and Christian commitment of those who aligned with the opposite political party. A rerun of Corinth is being played out in churches all over the Houston area as pious folk declare, “I am of Paul”, or “I am of Cephus”, or even “I am of Christ.” It’s ugly. It’s hurtful. And it’s unbiblical.
It is time for us to review the powerful, practical words penned by James early in the first century. He does not mince words to his scattered flock when he writes, “The tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things. See how great a forest is set aflame by such a small fire!”
Indeed, compared to the rest of the physical body, the tongue is tiny. It weighs, on average, just two ounces. But the boasts proclaimed by this minute muscle can cause relational damage greater than any California wildfire. Accordingly, James continues on to say, “The tongue… is the very world of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body and sets on fire the course of our life and is set on fire by hell.”
We have all witnessed the emotional scars carved by an uncontrolled tongue. Some, regrettably, have been inflicted by fellow believers. James saw the same disturbing activity in the addressed assemblies, and he lamented, “My brethren, these things ought not to be this way.”
If our nation – and our churches – are to heal from the carnage of the past few months, those who claim the name of Christ must lead the way. And it requires a conscious, continuous, relentless effort to each hold our tongues in check. Our mouths cannot be used to bless God and spew venom at the same time. It cannot be the fountain of both praises and sewage. Like a bit in the mouth of a horse, it has to be harnessed. Not next year. Not next month. Now.
Like a wild stallion violently bucking a cowboy seeking to break it, our tongues will seek to spit the bit. The sewage will leak. James admits, “No one can tame the tongue” —at least perfectly. But the sanctifying goal remains. The bit goes in. The tongue gets tamed. The wounds get healed. And God is glorified.
If you have a desire to become equipped for ministry, come check us out at the College of Biblical Studies. Founded over forty years ago, CBS is a multi-ethnic, accredited, and affordable Bible College equipping the next generation of Christian leaders for the church. You can get more information at , or by calling 713-785-5995.
Paul Nyquist, Ph.D.
Vice President of Discipleship
College of Biblical Studies