James 3 is the chapter known for its passage on taming the tongue. We often associate this phrase with restraining the tongue, keeping it from doing harm. I like to think of it in the positive, as well. We should harness our speech to do with it the great goods that God equips us for. Certainly we need to keep from hurtful language, but speech has so much power for good. We get a sense in the passage that complete control over the tongue is impossible, but that should not prevent us from faithfully working on this area of our life.
I already used this quote once before, but I like it so much and it applies so well to this idea of taming the tongue for good. So forgive my repetition.
But God has put his Word into the mouth of men in order that it may be communicated to other men. When one person is struck by the Word, he speaks it to others. God has willed that we should seek and find His living Word in the witness of a brother, in the mouth of a man. Therefore, the Christian needs another Christian who speaks God’s Word to him. He needs him again and again when he becomes uncertain and discouraged, for by himself he cannot help himself without belying the truth. He needs his brother man as a bearer and proclaimer of the divine word of salvation. He needs his brother solely because of Jesus Christ. The Christ in his own heart is weaker than the Christ in the word of his brother; his own heart is uncertain, his brother’s is sure.
Bonhoeffer, Life Together
James 3 is also the text for our focus passage this week, so I hope you take a look. I think we tend to underestimate the power and influence of our own speech and maybe this week you can go through some of the questions and reflect on the role that speech has in your own life–for good or for bad.