James, a “pillar in the early church” (Gal. 2:9), recognized the great destructive power and the danger of an uncontrolled tongue. He was not alone. Men and women in many cultures have warned us about the need to guard our speech. This bit of verse by an unknown writer says it well:
“The boneless tongue, so small and weak, can crush and kill,” declared the Greek.
The Persian proverb wisely saith, “A lengthy tongue, an early death.” Sometimes it takes this form instead:“Don’t let your tongue cut off your head.”
While Arab sages this impart: “The tongue’s great storehouse is the heart.”
From Hebrew wit, the maxim’s sprung: “Though feet should slip, don’t let the tongue.”
A verse from Scripture crowns the whole: “Who keeps the tongue doth keep his soul.”
Is it any wonder that James likened the tongue to a little fire that sets a great forest ablaze, or to the very small rudder that turns a mighty ship in a storm? (James 3:4-6).
O Lord, help us to learn a lesson from the wise. Help us to hold our tongue and not let it slip. – Haddon Robinson
There are some silent people
Whose praises should be sung;
They preach a mighty sermon
By guarding well their tongue. — Posegate
Wise is the person who knows what to say and when to say it.