In Chapter 3 of the Epistle of James, we find a discourse on that part of our body that seems to be the must unmanageable -- or untamable -- the tongue. James talks about how small but powerful the tongue really is. He reminds us that although a horse is very large, that strong and sometimes stubborn animal can be controlled by such a small instrument as a bit.
He also speaks of a ship. These large seagoing vessels, though pushed across the waves by strong winds, are controlled by a relatively small rudder. Both illustrations are used to demonstrate that a small body party like the tongue can, and does, control the body.
For example, if a person speaks a lie, it won't be long before you find yourself living that lie. Likewise, if one habitually speaks suggestively or in an immoral manner, it probably won't be long before that person begins to act immorally. James goes on to use a very powerful force of nature to us an illustration of how equally powerful the tongue can be.
He says a small fire can easily cause great destruction. So it is with the tongue. Words spoken by someone with a loose tongue can ruin one's reputation and can also destroy churches, families and friendships. James uses very vivid terms to make his point. He says the tongue is a fire and world of iniquity that is so placed in the body that it corrupts the entire person. He even says the tongue is set on fire by hell.
So, despite being able to tame wild animals, man is unable to tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil and is full of deadly poison. Though is true that no man -- by himself or herself -- can tame the tongue, it can -- and must -- be tamed with God's help.
James also talks about how we misuse our words, blessing God and cursing man. Sadly, this applies to everyone, even those who call themselves Christians. Despite all the praises we offer God, it is the curses against man that reveals the true person inside of each of us. These verses should serve as a warning for us all that we need to seek God's help in controlling the tongue.
May David's prayer be our own: "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14