Everyone struggles with controlling their tongue. Jesus said it was a fire, yet we don’t spend enough time learning what it means to control our mouth. To illustrate this, I played a little game with the teens in my youth group. The rules were simple. Before the students arrived, I set out enough Life Savers candies and plates for each one. Across the room, I set two small Dixie cups. After students arrived, I divided them into two teams. I then asked the students to stick a Life Saver to their tongue without using their hands, teeth, etc. Then, they had to carry the candy across the room and drop it into the cup. If they lost the candy or missed the cup, they had to go back and get a new Life Saver. They did this until one team won.
The meaning was clear. Controlling our speech is no less difficult than carrying a sodden Life Saver across the room and dropping it into a tiny cup, and yet, our Savior says it must be so. For that reason alone, let us each be inclined to "tame our tongue."
3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or 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. 5Likewise 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. 6The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, 8but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. 11Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.