For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.
Like fire, the tongue's sinful words can spread destruction rapidly, or as its accompanying smoke, those means can permeate and ruin everything around it. I must carefully guard my tongue that it be used for good and to build people up rather than to bring pain and destruction.
As a mother of several young children I find that it is often difficult to bridle my tongue. I love my children dearly, but their are many times that their fighting, arguing, or constant asking for food (ie. candy) can strike a nerve. When I explode in anger or frustration, my tongue is no longer guarded. Raising my children is such an important task that I cannot afford to allow my tongue to destroy my children. I know how hurtful words can be -- they can be the making or the breaking of a person.
For example, I do enjoy watching the biggest loser. This season, Ada is a young lady on the show who has lost two brothers and almost lost her third brother in a car accident. When her parents found out about the accident they accused Ada of trying to kill her third brother also. Now, I know this is an extreme example, but I'm certain you can imagine the damage those words caused even though they may have simply been said in anger or fear. Now I don't know whether or not her parents meant it when they made this statement. But simply stating it is enough for a child to be convinced that her parents believe that the deaths of her two younger brothers is her fault.
I MUST carefully guard my words. Words I say in haste without examining how they will be received can cause hurt in my children that I cannot reverse.
My prayer today is that I will bridle my tongue and seek to encourage and exhort my children. My goal is to affirm each of my children for things they do or say at least three times throughout the day today.