There is a well-known verse which many of us may have said as children: Sticks and stones my break my bones but words will never hurt me. Usually tears would be stinging either in our eyes, the eyes of our victim (or both) as we would retort with these words.
Even as children we knew... we knew that words can be like sharp stones and some of us became quickly adept at throwing them back or flinging them ourselves. Children can be very cruel at times. Take it from someone who has spent all of her adult life surrounded by children. Yes, children can be very cruel sometimes but... adults can be even more cruel for we have simply become more skillful at using our tongue as a weapon.
James addresses this issue in the third chapter of the Book of James.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal.
Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go.
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 body, sets the whole course of ones life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind,
but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
The same tongue which can be used to praise God, offer up prayers, speak the Word of God, teach others and comfort and encourage others is the same tongue which can curse, tear down and destroy! (James 3:9)
This should not be! If you are anything like me, you are hanging your head about now, recalling the times when you have allowed your tongue... to be your master.
The tongue is a poor master but it can be a very great servant. Words, indeed are a powerful thing. The Bible tells us that no man can tame the tongue... NO MAN! But... God can!
Granted, there are some of us who struggle more in this area than others but I can almost guarantee that every single one of us has at one time or another said (or wrote) something which we regret.
Let us resolve each day to ask God to be the master of our tongue. When we allow the Holy Spirit to take control of our tongues... even in the little things, amazing things will happen!