Faithlife Sermons

Faith Works 4

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Today feels like an especially appropriate day do begin our lesson with some classic World War 2 American war flyer posters. During early 1942, after we had officially entered the war but before we were heavily involved in the European theatre, enemy submarines were already patrolling our Eastern Seaboard. Quickly, leaders came up with advertisements designed to remind people that idle talk of things they felt unimportant could be potentially devastating. The slogan they came up with was, of course, “Loose Lips Sink Ships.” The express danger of idle words about something as mundane as shipping schedules ultimately costing lives was hammered home by these posters everywhere. The tongue is a small thing. Words aren’t much. But man can they do some damage.
[Insert Posters Here]
My guess is that its obvious to us the dangers our words carry. My bet is that, at some point or another, every single person in this room has had a moments where you started to share something you knew you weren’t supposed to, say something you didn’t need to, and as those words are being spoken, the thought in your head was “oh no, words are coming out.” As kids we were taught “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me.” Yeah, that’s not even remotely true, is it. Is there anyone who has managed to live a life unhurt by words at some point or another? And sure, our words have probably never sunk a ship, but we’ve certainly damaged or sunk relationships with our words, hurt people to the extent that damage cannot be easily repaired- sometimes unknowingly, but sometimes intentionally. We have an incredible ability to morph words into weapons, intended often to belittle others and assert our own rightness or force things to be our way. Its amazing how often selfishness shapes our words.
Today’s passage in the book of James strikes hard because it warns against the way we use our words and the danger of a mouth running unbridled.

3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2 For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3 If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4 Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits.

How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8 but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.

Explanation Here

10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.

Further Explanation Here
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