We had anticipated this trip for weeks and today was the day that we would enjoy a visit through the rural beauty of Amish country. As we neared our destination, we passed a steady stream of horse-drawn buggies that were traveling along the berm of the road. After a few miles of observation, my husband commented on how disciplined those horses were. Huge tractor trailers would whiz by them, cars would weave past them, and those magnificent creatures were undeterred from their path. Regardless of the age of the one holding the reins, those bridled horses demonstrated that they had been well-trained, controlled, and disciplined.
James mentions horse’s bridles in his short letter to his fellow believers. He observed, as I did on that beautiful autumn day in Amish country, that “we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us, and we turn about their whole body.” Those buggy drivers controlled those huge, muscular horses simply by tugging on the reins. James continues to explain to his readers that, with enough effort, “every kind of beast” can be tamed, brought under our control and submission. Every beast except one, the human tongue. The tongue is on powerful creature, “a little member (that) boasteth great things.” That teeny, insignificant muscle of our body can kindle one devastating fire. One thoughtless comment can ignite a bloody battle, one unintentional insult can result in indescribable hurt, and one careless aside can leave us wallowing in a river of life-long bitterness. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue,” “unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” Those are strong condemnations for a tongue that has the capability to cause so much hurt.
I personally struggle with that “little member” daily. In my heart I understand that “a soft answer turneth away wrath,” but instead, my flesh has that bent to lash out in anger, spite, or just plain retaliatory meanness. My spirit realizes that “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold,” but sometimes my words can be more likened to rotten apples. How often have my hasty, harsh words discouraged a fellow brother of sister, instead of infusing encouragement? How many times have I retaliated in revenge rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to bridle my tongue? How many times have I disregarded my mother’s sage advice, Honey, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.
Lord, I can’t tame this monster, for my flesh is too weak, my spirit too haughty at times. I need You to “set a watch” on my lips, replacing my vengeful words with Your grace and love. Control the bit for me, Lord, and tug on that rein when my tongue is straying out of control, help me to “speak no guile.” The world would certainly be a kinder, more compassionate and benevolent planet, if God was given leave to control more of the reins to His children’s words.
Psalm 141:3 Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the doors of my lips.”
I Peter 3:10 …let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
Lord, set a watch on my lips, help me to think before I speak, help me not to be hurtful, but kind and uplifting to others. Allow Your grace and love be evidenced in me.<div class='sharedaddy sd-block sd-like jetpack-likes-widget-wrapper jetpack-likes-widget-unloaded' id='like-post-wrapper-164683012-1176-62b949cb5d2dd' data-src='https://widgets.wp.com/likes/#blog_id=164683012&post_id=1176&origin=wordpress.grandmasgleanings.com&obj_id=164683012-1176-62b949cb5d2dd' data-name='like-post-frame-164683012-1176-62b949cb5d2dd' data-title='Like or Reblog'><h3 class="sd-title">Like this:</h3><div class='likes-widget-placeholder post-likes-widget-placeholder' style='height: 55px;'><span class='button'><span>Like</span></span> <span class="loading">Loading...</span></div><span class='sd-text-color'></span><a class='sd-link-color'></a></div>