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. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 3:5-6 (NIV)
Satan will continue to harass us and tempt us to sin in the same way over and over until He realizes that we can no longer be seduced in that area anymore. I guess I have not convinced him yet, because he almost always succeeds in derailing me in one of two ways, my pride or my tongue. His usual attack comes at the moment when I am most frantic, going at my fastest pace with a to do list a mile long. Then, zing, despite an opportunity to make the right choice, if I am moving too fast or thinking too hard, I fail. It happened tonight right in the driveway of church. After loading the car full of items for the auction, arguing with my son about why he could not drive, and struggling to get it all to church in rush hour traffic, just as I pulled into the parking lot, my cell phone rang. It was someone calling me about a problem after business hours on a Friday evening. It was serious enough to need immediate attention, but there was nothing I could do to about it until Monday. Despite that fact, they wanted to vent, so with one hand on my cell phone, I gave Tim the keys to open up the back of my car and begin unloading baskets. Things must have shifted on the drive, because when he did, everything began to fall out on the pavement. A bottle of honey hit the asphalt first, followed by a candle in a glass jar. With the person still yammering away in my ear, I tried to signal my son to stop his work, but he kept right on dragging things out of the car and flinging them onto a cart. Before I knew it, my carefully prepared baskets were upside down and in a mess, and still the voice coming out of the cell phone kept talking. Without thinking, I yelled, “Stop right now!” That was followed by an expletive that should not have been in my head, much less on my tongue. The phone silenced. Baskets froze in mid air. I got my point made, but harshly and rudely. My caller hung up, convinced I had yelled at them. My son became huffy and distant. I was left with shattered glass to pick up and broken hearts to mend. And me, the chairman of a church auction designed to raise money for missions and ministry. Whatever happened to charity begins at home? The next time you are stressed and frazzled, remember these words of James. Our tongue is capable of setting a great fire and creating much evil if we do not keep it under control. Whatever good we do can be overcome by the words we say. Guard your tongue. Abstain from evil speaking. Much more is at stake than a few gift baskets and some glass jars.