Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 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. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig-tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Two kinds of wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbour bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such ‘wisdom’ does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
Prayer: Father, we thank You for all who teach your Word in our church. They have an awesome responsibility and so are judged more strictly. We pray that they will work hard to understand the Bible, explain it clearly and apply it relevantly to the groups they are teaching.
Thank You, Father, for the gift of speech. May we use our tongues to sing Your praises, to express our worship and to honour You. Help us to use our speech to build up and encourage others, to counsel those in need, to bring a smile to those feeling down, to bring a timely word of wisdom, and to share the good news. Forgive us, Lord, when we misuse our tongues to tear others down, to spread gossip, to consistently complain, to speak unkindly, to lie, to spread hatred, to utter racist remarks, and to boast.
Grant us true wisdom, Lord, that we might live a life pleasing to You and that commends our Saviour, Jesus Christ. May we live a good life, full of good deeds, marked by humility and love of neighbour. In a world full of strife and rivalry, help us to be peacemakers.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.