7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
James is making a pretty strong case about how the tongue even though small can be our undoing. He points out that with our tongue we can praise God and then turn around and curse those He created. It speaks to the duality of man and the constant battle we face against the flesh.
For me these verses really drive home the idea that I have to be very careful what I say. I would hate to sully my proclamation of God by using my tongue to praise God and also to verbally tear someone down. I know there have been times that I have said things to folks that completely tarnished my witness about Jesus. I need to work hard to keep my tongue in check.
Father, I pray that my tongue would be an instrument of praise to you and an instrument of life and encouragement to others. Forgive me where I have used words to discourage and tear others down in the past. I pray that going forward my words would testify of the Gospel and reveal your goodness. Amen.