James 3:2 (CEB)

We all make mistakes often, but those who don’t make mistakes with their words have reached full maturity. Like a bridled horse, they can control themselves entirely.


It goes like this: the second the words are out my mouth, I realize I’ve screwed up. Usually I don’t have to wait for the awkward silence to know it’s happened. Often I wonder why my filter seems to be calibrated like 2 seconds behind, and how I can readjust it so it catches things before they come out. Does that sound familiar to you at all?

James spends the first half of chapter 3 talking about, well, talking. James recognizes the importance of the words we use: how they hurt, how they heal, how they become both blessing and curse. It’s clear he knows well the damage poorly chosen words can cause. Which honestly makes me feel a little better – like he gets it because he’s probably made the same mistakes I have.

I’m not sure how to recalibrate my filter, or how to regain control, except to realize that I’m particularly prone to saying dumb things when I am tired or stressed. I need to remember in those times to take extra care to think and breathe before I speak.

If ever you need a reminder of the importance of words from someone who clearly knows what it means to say the wrong thing, James is your man. It’s a message we all need to hear – loudly and often.

By Joe Monahan

For Pondering & Prayer

Can you think of a time in the last week when you wish you would have chosen your words more carefully? What could you have done differently in that moment? What was going on inside you that made it difficult to act differently?

Prayer: Holy Spirit, this week help us to tame our tongues that we might only speak words of encouragement and grace to those we encounter – especially those closest to us. Amen.