One of the most dangerous things in this world is words. I know, I know. Words? How can something so insignificant be dangerous? People don’t realize just how much words can affect us. Whether it’s words of praise, wisdom, anger, love, sadness, or just rude and mean. Words can create these deep, festering, painful wounds in our hearts.
The tongue can be considered like a match. With just one strike, it could set a fire that completely ravages a person’s mental, emotional, and spiritual life. In James 3, we are warned about the strength that the tongue truly has. It can light a fire in our hearts and it can tear us down or build us up. Now, I have heard James 3 being portrayed as scary and depressing almost, but when I read it, it brought a smile to my face.
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark." NIV James 3:5
This one line, just screamed at me. Almost as if it was jumping in my head saying, “Hey! Look at me!” Words are like the spark that sets a forest ablaze. What if that forest was a heart? What if that spark was words of God? Now it’s a whole new type of fire. It’s not the destructiveness of sin, but words of God’s love. That’s the fire that I want to set, just as it was set ablaze in me. “9...His word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones....””(NIV Jeremiah 20:9)I don’t know about you, but I want that fire to consume me and pour out of me into those around me. I want that fire to spark a fire in them. I want them to burn with the same fire that I feel in my bones! For me, that first spark started coming to life, starting with the example of those around me. Steadily, it was fanned by music, by little things I’d see around me, by the words of the friends closest to me. God spoke to me through all of these things and I finally let that fire take hold of me. To be consumed by that fire (love) is one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever experienced.
That fire I have in me is a positive fire, but it could have just as easily been a destructive fire had I not heard the right words. When it comes down to it, the tongue is one of the more dangerous aspects of the flesh. It truly can be a double-edged sword. Be careful of the things you say. While you can use your words for good and for the right reasons, it is just as easy to tear someone down with negative words. More often than not you may not even realize you’ve done so. Always think twice over what you will say, lest you start the wrong kind of fire in a person’s heart.