Taming the tongue
1My brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers, because we know that we teachers will be judged more strictly. 2We all make mistakes often, but those who don’t make mistakes with their words have reached full maturity. Like a bridled horse, they can control themselves entirely. 3When we bridle horses and put bits in their mouths to lead them wherever we want, we can control their whole bodies.
4Consider ships: They are so large that strong winds are needed to drive them. But pilots direct their ships wherever they want with a little rudder. 5In the same way, even though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts wildly.
Think about this: A small flame can set a whole forest on fire. 6The tongue is a small flame of fire, a world of evil at work in us. It contaminates our entire lives. Because of it, the circle of life is set on fire. The tongue itself is set on fire by the flames of hell.
7People can tame and already have tamed every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and fish. 8No one can tame the tongue, though. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we both bless the Lord and Father and curse human beings made in God’s likeness. 10Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, it just shouldn’t be this way!
11Both fresh water and salt water don’t come from the same spring, do they? 12My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree produce olives? Can a grapevine produce figs? Of course not, and fresh water doesn’t flow from a saltwater spring either.
Wisdom from above
13Are any of you wise and understanding? Show that your actions are good with a humble lifestyle that comes from wisdom. 14However, if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, then stop bragging and living in ways that deny the truth. 15This is not the wisdom that comes down from above. Instead, it is from the earth, natural and demonic. 16Wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there is disorder and everything that is evil. 17What of the wisdom from above? First, it is pure, and then peaceful, gentle, obedient, filled with mercy and good actions, fair, and genuine. 18Those who make peace sow the seeds of justice by their peaceful acts.
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