Taming the Tongue

1 Not many of you should be teachers, my brothers, knowing that we will receive heavier judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.

3 Indeed, we put bits in the mouths of horses so that they will obey us, and we are able to control their whole body. 4 The ships also, though they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, are yet guided by a very small rudder, wherever the captain desires.

5 So the tongue is also a small body part, yet it boasts greatly. Consider how a small fire can spread through a large forest! 6 And the tongue is a fire. The tongue–a world of iniquity among our body parts–defiles the whole body and sets our life’s course on fire by hell itself.

7 For every kind of animal, bird, creeping thing, and sea creature can be and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But nobody can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who are made in the image of God. 10 Out of the same mouth comes forth blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh and bitter water from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brothers, yield olives, or vine figs? Nor can a spring yield both salt water and fresh water.

True Wisdom from Above

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good conduct, by deeds done in the wisdom of humility. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not boast and lie to hide the truth. 15 This wisdom does not come from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there will be confusion and every evil practice.

17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 18 Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who are peacemakers.

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