ames 3:3-12 (NIV)

3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.1 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.2 Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  6 The tongue also is a fire,3 a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person,4 sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.5  7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man,

8 but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.6
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.7 
10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.
11 Can both fresh water and salta water flow from the same spring?
12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs?8 Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

James 3:5 (NIV)

5 Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.1 Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.                            

DEVOTION -Deanna Baird (Michigan)

Recently, in a phone conversation with my sister, idle chatter about one thing led to another, and before long our conservation was filled with snippy remarks and comments about other people.  It seemed harmless, but later I noticed that my energy had been sapped.

I knew that gossiping was wrong so I called my sister and asked her forgiveness for letting the conversation become so negative.  She confessed to feeling the same way.  She reminded me that when we were children, we were taught to “stop, drop, and roll” if our clothes caught on fire and suggested that from now on we try something similar in our conservation.  “Stop, breathe, and pray,”  I said; and we shared a good laugh over the analogy.  We agreed that we had let one careless comment ignite another until we were ablaze with self-righteous indignation.

Though we have done better, we still slip up and need to remind each other to stop and think about the direction our conversation is going.  We understand that speaking negatively not only affects our relationship with God and others but also has a detrimental effect on our spirits.  Though they may seem insignificant, unkind words can spark into a raging inferno.  Wouldn’t it be better to keep the fire from starting in the first place?

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: We honor God when – instead of gossiping – we stop, breathe, and pray.

PRAYER: Gracious God, with your help, amy our words be pleasant, sweet,, and healing.  Amen.