Fire is never a good thing in a classroom. In the book of James, the tongue is compared to a small spark that destroys a great forest. I have the disability of thinking out loud, which has led to many times of regret. Being a foreigner makes it even harder, you can imagine the looks of consternation that I get when I call someone’s fern a “great pot plant”.
Just as I underestimated the power of high school boys, we often underestimate the power of our tongues. What we say as women has tremendous influence over the lives of others. At youth camp I gave each student a handful of sand, asked them to throw it outside and then retrieve each grain. Just as it was impossible to get each grain of sand back, once a word has left our mouth it can never be taken back. Many of our words are not forgotten and inflict lasting damage deep within the souls of those around us. James 1:26 says, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”
So how do we guard our mouths? What we say overflows from our heart, we need to ask God to change our hearts to make them like His and to convict us every time we say something that displeases him. Then when I know I’m at my weakest I ask God to duct tape me, it is very effective! The other day, I desperately wanted to spout great wisdom at my poor daughter who was trapped in the car with me. It was a golden moment, but God said “No, keep your mouth shut”. I quickly prayed, “God, it’s not going to happen unless you intervene”. I tell you the truth for the first time in my life I felt his finger over my lips. It truly shocked me into silence.