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    The Power of the Tongue

    Wednesday, December 07, 2011


    I watched a documentary last week on the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. The shear power of their destruction was truly astounding as the bombs flattened everything for many kilometres around. The physical destruction however pales into insignificance in light of the human destruction. It is estimated that at least 100,000 people were killed in Hiroshima and another 70,000 in Nagasaki, no one knows for sure. Half of the number killed died the first day of the bombings, the other half died a slow and painful death from flash burns or radiation sickness over the weeks and months that followed.

    As I reflected on the destruction and the facts and figures about the complete devastation brought about by this horrific event I was reminded of the Bible’s description of the potentially devastating power of the tongue. In the book of James we are reminded that the tongue has the capacity for great good in bringing praise to God but also great destruction in the damage it can bring.

    “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 person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5b-6)

    The Bible warns us of the tongue’s potentially destructive power that can ignite and burn down a whole forest, and like an atomic bomb it can indiscriminately destroy everything in its path. I was challenged further this week in thinking about these things while reading a chapter of a book on the tongue with my accountability partners, which said:

    “The tongue has that scope of inflammatory power in human relationships, and James is saying that those who misuse the tongue are guilty of spiritual arson. A mere spark from an ill-spoken word can produce a firestorm that annihilates everyone it touches. Furthermore, because the tongue is a “world of evil,” it contains and conveys all the world system’s wickedness. It is party to every evil there is and actively intrudes its evil into our lives.”  (R. Kent Hughes, Disciplines Of A Godly Man)

    Thankfully, while reflecting on the potential of our words, I was reminded of God’s Words, communicated in various ways, that have brought such unimaginable blessing to this world,

    …“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11)

    “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests” (Luke 2:14)

    …“Look, the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

    …“It is finished.”… (John 19:30)


    God’s peace to you in this Christmas season,

    Pastor Brian.







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