Moths are drawn to the flame- so was our son. His eyes never lit up more than when he saw his first candle on his birthday cake. As he grew so did his fire, from little lit logs to fireworks to huge bonfires with friends. He was even given a “black dot” in Canada for not being able to wait for the appointed time to build a campfire! Fortunately his pyro tendencies have remained in check.
In James 3 the Bible likens the tongue to a fire. Devastating destruction can begin with a single word, a flame fanned. On a more positive note, the spread of gossip can be extinguished with a tongue that is controlled. We decide destiny when we choose how to use our tongue.
Brain researchers have discovered that the speech center has dominion over other parts of neurological functioning. What we speak to others and to ourselves determine further actions. A great example is found in Number 13 when Moses sent twelve spies into the Promised Land. Upon their return ten spoke of the size of the large inhabitants, proclaiming that they felt in comparison like grasshoppers in their own eyes. Joshua and Caleb proclaimed the positive, “Let us go up at one and take possession, for we are well able to overcome it.” God honored their faith filled words, promising later on that only Joshua and Caleb would enter Canaan. We choose blessing or cursing.
While lying and divisive words cause harm to us and others, one other way the tongue can destroy is criticism. A husband or wife who criticized their spouse tears down their own household. A parent who harbors the shortcoming of their child and rattles off their wrongs like a rap sheet, continues the course spiraling downward. The worst criticism is often spoken within our own minds. Self-criticism is not a victimless sin.
God knew the power of the spoken word. He created our world with His words! Word by word we create our worlds. His Word spoken and alive in our hearts will build a world of beauty and power.
“The heart of the wise teaches his mouth and adds learning to his lips. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Psalm 16:23-24