I’ve lived through the full force of what James equates to
in 3:3-12, as a small bit that turns a huge horse’s head, a small
rudder that directs a great ship, and a small spark that ignites a
forest fire: the tongue.
I’m not remembered for possessing a cheerleader’s figure
during high school: my baby fat took its sweet time to shed.
I wasn’t a doughboy; just solid as an iceberg like the one
the Titanic collided into. In my late teens the ice began to melt. You
would have thought I’d hear praises and accolades of congratulations.
But on the contrary, at a family gathering this slithering snake like
appendage tightened my yoke of insecurities.
My Uncle cleared his throat. “I just want to say,” he
began, “that since Sharon lost her weight . . .” I sat up straighter
anticipating the pleasure of his words; “ . . . we can now,” he
paused, “be proud of her.” He chuckled. Something had struck me—my
cheeks burned. But the anvil of destruction still routed back and
forth in my Uncle’s mouth. A funeral like silence filled the room.
Gradually a quiet, nervous conversation titled its way towards me, but
the words were muffled like in a fog. My future husband squeezed my
hand and whispered, “It’s going to be okay.”
By God’s grace I didn’t succumb to anoxia. But the engraving of those
words upon my heart stilted my self-image. I felt devalued, imperfect,
and that my capabilities meant nothing. I felt ashamed I’d let people
No definite descriptions of Jesus exist. Some say he was comely, not
striking. But His love and words set hearts free, and changed the
world forever. Mother Theresa didn’t spend time at the cosmetic
counters, but the stench and filth of where she ministered became
sweet morsels to change as her words gave encouragement of hope. Jesus
and Mother Theresa lived—
I Thessalonians 5:11: that we are to edify, and bring comfort.
I asked my husband what attracted me to him. He said: “It was what
was on the inside: your love for God, the giving, the words of
encouragement to others. Then your beautiful smile!”
James continued, “ . . . from the same mouth comes blessings and
cursing. My brethren, this ought not to be this way” (James 3:10
NKJV). No one should experience hardship from of a small bit, rudder
or spark of fire called the tongue. Rather, Psalm 19:14 says we
should live the example of Jesus and Mother Theresa: “Let the words of
my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Your sight.”
I didn’t recover immediately. It took time: my husband’s
love, and God’s patience. I had an advocate in Christ. When I accepted
the fact that in His eyes, He saw a perfect design, God reached down
and “ . . .plucked my feet out from the [tongue’s] net” (Psalm 25:15)
and lifted my yoke of insecurities.