Text: James 3:2-8

Verse two states, ‘we often stumble and offend’. This suggests to me that even as Christians we will offend people and we will stumble. He speaks in the present tense and even uses the word often. In other verses though, Paul mentions what we used to do when we were not Christians. But here James says “we all often“.

I find that interesting because so many times we think becoming a Christian means automatic perfection in everything we do and say and experience. But this debunks that. It’s NOT making allowance for sin or allowing sloppy living, but it is saying that as humans on this earth offenses will happen. He then goes on to say, ‘but if anyone does not offend in word, then he’s a mature and perfect person’. Why is that? Because the tongue is usually what causes problems to start in the first place.

We all have or have experienced problems with, ‘this person said…’, ‘I heard this one say about…’, ‘she said…’, ‘he said.. .’ Verse six speaks to this! It defiles the body.

  1. the individual body, by speaking negative words about ourselves,
  2. the body of believers by causing trouble and unnecessary strife.

Let’s look briefly at The Garden of Eden. If Satan’s tongue never wagged, we probably wouldn’t be here today. If Eve never opened her mouth and just walked away, she would not have been defiled and the course of life would not have been changed as we know it. And if Adam kept his mouth shut and took the fruit to God, perhaps there would have been some other remedy.

Verse eight then gives some scary insight: ‘the tongue is untameable’! James did say though in verse two, ‘if any man does not offend in speech he is a great man’. I’d like to believe there is much room to achieve such a great feat. May the Lord give us the grace to keep our tongues from evil purposes and used only for His glory.