Controlling the Things We Say
1My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all make many mistakes. If people never said anything wrong, they would be perfect and able to control their entire selves, too. 3When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can control their whole bodies. 4Also a ship is very big, and it is pushed by strong winds. But a very small rudder controls that big ship, making it go wherever the pilot wants. 5It is the same with the tongue. It is a small part of the body, but it brags about great things.
A big forest fire can be started with only a little flame. 6And the tongue is like a fire. It is a whole world of evil among the parts of our bodies. The tongue spreads its evil through the whole body. The tongue is set on fire by hell, and it starts a fire that influences all of life. 7People can tame every kind of wild animal, bird, reptile, and fish, and they have tamed them, 8but no one can tame the tongue. It is wild and evil and full of deadly poison. 9We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father, but then we curse people, whom God made like himself. 10Praises and curses come from the same mouth! My brothers and sisters, this should not happen. 11Do good and bad water flow from the same spring? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree make olives, or can a grapevine make figs? No! And a well full of salty water cannot give good water.
13Are there those among you who are truly wise and understanding? Then they should show it by living right and doing good things with a gentleness that comes from wisdom. 14But if you are selfish and have bitter jealousy in your hearts, do not brag. Your bragging is a lie that hides the truth. 15That kind of “wisdom” does not come from God but from the world. It is not spiritual; it is from the devil. 16Where jealousy and selfishness are, there will be confusion and every kind of evil. 17But the wisdom that comes from God is first of all pure, then peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help those who are troubled and to do good for others. It is always fair and honest. 18People who work for peace in a peaceful way plant a good crop of right-living.