Fire burns. Campfire, controlled fire, or uncontrolled fire, the fact is that fire burns in every situation. Fire burns houses to the ground, levels beautiful green forests, and crashes airplanes with passengers onboard. A campfire could give warmth to explorers in cold, freezing areas or toast marshmallows for hungry campers. Fire can be destructive or constructive, depending on how it is used.
James 3:6-10: And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
The Bible directly calls the tongue a fire. Since the Bible is the ultimate source of truth, this metaphor is true and thus one can proceed without any doubts. The tongue is a fire, and is an unruly evil. Many times the author has, in his sinfulness, burned the house down with his tongue. One may think this is exaggeration. People don’t always realize the seriousness of the wounds caused by the tongue; when a person is burned by real fire however, they are very concerned. If one would take into consideration the fact that some words can hurt more than fire, the so called exaggeration the author made by saying he “burned the house down with his tongue” becomes more realistic of an outcome. The author disrespected his parents to the point where neither the child or the parent cared to talk to the other for quite some time. That is, until the wounds started to heal just a little.
Not only can the tongue be used for evil, but James reminds his readers that the tongue is also used to praise God in song at church; the same tongue we used to disrespect our parents in the car twenty minutes earlier or belittle a sibling in that same time period. How is it, that we can praise God with a smile on our face, after we disrespect our parents in anger? How dare we think that God is willing to hear our praises to Him, when we have sin in our lives! Quite well James writes in verse ten: “My brethren, these things ought not so to be!”
To conclude, consider your words the next time you speak. Think before you speak; how would Jesus respond in your situation? Would He lash out at his parents in anger? Would He berate his younger brothers or sisters? Would He watch his words in everything He said? Would you?