Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you realize that we will be judged more strictly, for we all fall short in many respects. If anyone does not fall short in speech, he is a perfect man, able to bridle his whole body also. If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we also guide their whole bodies. It is the same with ships: even though they are so large and driven by fierce winds, that are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilots inclination wishes.In the same way, the tongue is a small member and yet has great pretensions. Consider how a small fire can set a huge forest ablaze. The tongue is also a fire. It exists among our members as a world of malice, defiling the whole body and setting the entire course of our lives on fire, itself set on fire by Gehenna. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. This need not be so, my brothers. Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can salt water yield fresh.
This is a passage that we must not take lightly, especially those [of us] who teach. If you’ve read my about page, you will recall I make reference to this passage (3:1). As a teacher, I must at every moment keep in mind the fact that what I teach must be truth, because I will be judged more strictly. It is a sobering thought, one I wish more so called “teachers” would heed. Particularly, here on the” bolgosphere” where anyone can say anything they want and call it “teaching” from God’s word ( I am not exempt from making mistakes, and encourage everyone who reads my studies, to test the spirits to make sure it is of God).
James then ties this “teaching” ministry, with what is being said by this teacher’s tongue. Just as last week he taught us that “faith without works is dead”, this week, he gives us an example of knowing a “true” teacher for what he says. If a teacher of God’s word can’t control his tongue, is that teacher really controlled by the Holy Spirit?
So much damage can be, and has been done by false teachers. James says our tongue is a fire, “itself set on fire by Gehenna”, able to destroy everything in it’s path. That includes destroying someone elses’ faith. Just as we can encourage spiritual growth with what we say and teach, we can also discourage spiritual growth or even shipwreck people spiritually. These things, we as teachers will certainly be judged on.
One example I will leave you with is from a few weeks back on my post, The Crown of Life, in the seventh comment down someone states that, “Jesus Christ is not true man”, and yet calls himself a Christian. How can this be? Does a spring gush forth from the same opening both pure and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, produce olives, or a grapevine figs? Neither can salt water yield fresh.
Please, be careful whether on the Internet, watching so-called Christian television or listening to Christian radio. Our culture is full of heresy, longing to lead us astray. Test the spirits my dear brothers and sisters and do not be deceived by your enemy the devil. He is prowling around looking to devour you. Stay strong in the Lord through prayer,through repentance, through His Holy Word and through His Holy Eucharist.
This week, let us be ever mindful of what we say and the affect it can and, will have, on others. Remember what Jesus said, “It is not what enters ones mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” Matt 15:11