I was watching a documentary on baseball pitchers who throw a pitch called the knuckleball. It is not as it sounds because you do not use your knuckles to throw it, rather you use your finger nails to dig into the ball and push the ball out rather than let it roll off your fingers like other pitches. Currently there are only two Major League Baseball pitchers who throw a knuckleball, Tim Wakefield and R.A. Dickey. It is a difficult pitch to throw and even more difficult to control where it is going. Yet for those guys who can master it, it can extend their career for years. During this documentary R.A. Dickey was being interviewed by a reporter a day after he didn’t pitch very well. It turns out that the problem was he broke one of his fingernails during the first inning. Dickey’s comment to the reporter was “who knew such a small thing could cause such big problems.” That got me to thinking about what James said about our tongue.
In James 3:5 James said, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth.” In the previous verses James had mentioned that a horse is controlled by the bit in its mouth and a big ship is controlled by a small rudder on the back. James 3:2 says, “For in many things we offend all. If any many offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.” James said that we would be complete (perfect) and in complete control of all of our body if we are able to control our tongue. Yet the reality of our situation is given in James 3:7-8, “For ever kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” We have been able to tame every animal, put a man on the moon, cure many forms of cancer, and yet no one can tame the tongue. That is amazing to me, amazingly accurate that is. How many times have we had the dreaded “Foot-in-mouth” disease, where we speak first and then think? James closes out the section on the tongue in verse 9 and 10 by saying, with our mouth we bless God and then curse men, this should not be so. Maybe that is why James warned us back in James 1:19, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.” Whoever came up with the saying “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” with all due respect, had no clue what they were talking about. Words can inflict pain that has lasting effects for weeks, months, and sometimes even years later. Let us all remember that with our words we can either build someone up or we can tear them down.
By His grace and through His strength may we live for Him