I have no problem resisting the “big” sins. Adultery, murder, theft… I am not guilty, not even tempted!
It is the “small” sins of everyday life that I battle against and often lose the fight against. One in particular: my tongue, especially at home when my guard is down. My choice of words is a temptation I struggle with every minute.
So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! (James 3:5)
James says our tongues are small, like a little spark. A flicker cannot do much harm, right? Oh, but it can burn down a big forest!
In the same way, do not underestimate the power of “just” a few words. As a parent, my words can demoralize my children and flatten their confidence. As a wife, my words can demean my husband and cause a wide chasm in our marriage.
“What’s wrong with you? Can’t you do anything right?!”
“How many times do I have to remind you? Oh, you are useless!”
We would never speak such harsh words to our friends or even to strangers. But when it comes to our family, we don no restraints. The tongue lets loose. It criticizes and tears down. Even worse, we do not recognize our harsh words as sin. After all, we can let our hair down and tell it like it is at home, right?
If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
Wrong! God’s commands must first be applied at home where our faith needs to be genuinely lived out. All our religious practices mean little to our family if we do not control our tongues. Satan knows this is where we are most vulnerable.
We need to be serious about obeying God’s command to tame our tongues, beginning in our homes. We must resist every temptation to say destructive words.
Written by Katy Lee. Artwork by Carol Li