James had a lot to say about the tongue, and most of it was not positive. However, it is not the tongue itself that causes all the trouble. The fault lies with the heart and mind that express themselves through the tongue. The tongue is simply the messenger. And what James says here about our spoken words is just as true for our written words.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. (James 3:9-10 NIV)
James addresses here an all too common problem. How often do we speak well of God while at the same time being critical of other people? People who are made in the image of the God we are praising. And sometimes, we do this in almost the same breath. Out of the same mouth comes praise and cursing, which should not be.
You don’t literally have to curse someone to be guilty of this. Do you ever gossip about other people? Most gossip is critical of the person you are talking about. Not just what they might have done. But the person themselves. And that is a form of cursing them.
What does your conversation sound like when disagreeing with someone about something? Are you respectful and courteous, even while disagreeing? Or is your tone and language disrespectful and negative? Putting them down because of the positions they hold. All too often, it seems the latter is true. And, when it is, we are guilty of James’ charge in this passage.
We can disagree, and sometimes should. But we need to be careful that, as we do, we are not guilty of cursing a person made in the image of God.
The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.
If you have found value in this post, please consider subscribing to A Clay Jar so that you don’t miss any other posts.