Scot McKnight on his blog Jesus Creed has an excellent series on James, in which right now he is working through the passage on the tongue.
James is excellent on the tongue, akin to the Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). We learn that the use of our tongue is an important measure of how we control the rest of our body, and whether or not we are living as one who is wise.
James points out that those who don't keep a tight rein on their tongue deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. And he emphasizes the importance of being quick to listen and slow to speak.
Sometimes we just shrug our shoulders in trying to measure or spiritual progress in Christian formation. But considering our speech, what we say, is one important indicator of our growth in grace into Christ-likeness. Just because one does control their tongue, as Scot points out, does not mean they're becoming like Christ. But a major part of following Jesus is how we use our tongue both in avoiding what is destructive, and in speaking what is helpful and healing to others. And that includes wounds from a friend. And that goes both ways for us.
This is a big part of my life, as all of our lives. If you talk much like I can, or talk little, what you do say expresses your heart. It's not just a matter of managing our tongues, but it goes to our very hearts. Are we being transformed into Christ's image, by the renewing of our minds through the Spirit and the word in our day to day lives?
Any words you'd like to share on the tongue?