Today’s Scripture: Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. James 3:5-6

God has given us two ears, but one tongue, to show that we should be swift to hear, but slow to speak. – Thomas Watson

He talked himself out of the opportunity of a lifetime, and paid with his life. Sentenced to be hanged, a man guilty of treason against Russian czar, Nicholas I, prepared to die. But his rope broke, and he fell to the ground. He could have been pardoned because of the accident, but he stood and said, “In Russia they do not know how to do anything properly, not even how to make a rope.”

When the czar heard the man’s response, he answered, “Let the contrary be proved.”

Our words may never cost us our lives, but if we don’t realize their impact on others, they can hurt many people. A word can praise or put down. It can encourage or cause discouragement. It can bring healing or pain. It can unite or divide.

Relationships live and die by the spoken word. This is why the Bible puts so much emphasis on the power of the tongue. Love, not anger, should be the first emotion by which we speak. Grace and truth should follow.

Maybe your marriage is struggling. Perhaps you’re nursing a fragile relationship at work or school, or you may not have a good relationship with your teenagers.

Commit to speak the truth in love today. If you have to say something, use love and grace to drive home your point, not anger. You may find your words have preserved the life of your relationship.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.