Every time we open our mouths ...
We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life. A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything — or destroy it! -James 3:2-5 MSG
Describing 18th century Irish Parliamentarian Sir Boyle Roche a person remarked: "Every time he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it." I sometimes feel that way. Sadly, I have said many things that I wished I could take back. The tongue, when provoked, can sometimes reveal things that we wish stayed hidden. Once the words leave our mouth we are helpless and unable to retrieve them. Many times I have had to ask forgiveness for my careless utterances.
I love the way that James likens our tongue to small things, like rudders and bits, that control big things. If he were living today he might describe the ways that steering wheels in the hands of pilots and bus drivers can affect many people. Our words have much power. The self image of a young child is molded by the things that parents say to them. The encouraging words of a friend can give courage to press on. Our words can accomplish great things.
Help us Lord to only speak words that bless. And when we sin with our words give us courage to seek forgiveness.