“Pianist Arthur Rubenstein once told this story on himself. Some years ago he came down with a stubborn case of hoarseness. The newspapers were full of reports about smoking and cancer; so he decided to consult a throat specialist. “I searched his face for a clue during the 30 minute examination,” Rubenstein said, “but it was expressionless. He told me to come back the next day. I went home full of fears, and I didn’t sleep that night.” The next day there was another long examination and again an ominous silence. “Tell me,” the pianist exclaimed. “I can stand the truth. I’ve lived a full rich life. What’s wrong with me?” The physician said, “You talk too much.” (Bits and Pieces, January 1990, p. 15.)
James’ message today is about as blunt as that throat specialist. Pastor Tommy Nelson says, “This passage does liposuction on your sin nature, it doesn’t try to warm you to repentance it just flat nails you.” This issue is of high importance to James. He includes controlling your tongue in his list of what constitutes “pure” religion. (1:27) In chapter two James considers the relationship of faith and works and uses the term “says” 5 times… contrasting it with true faith that works (mentioned 10 times).
We all make mistakes, James says, but if we could master this one thing- holding our tongues- we can control the rest of ourselves in every way. (3:2) Wise women and men of God: Reserve the right to remain silent.