March 1, 2023 The Power of the Tongue

Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. Epistle of James, chap. 3, 5-8, New International 

Dear readers,


Devastating forest fires are not only known from California. In Germany, too, large forests burn again and again. The German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture writes on its website: "The main cause of forest fires in Germany, where a cause could be determined, is man. In 2021, 16.8 % of forest fires were caused intentionally (arson)."


The writer of the Letter of James compares the effect of a tongue to a forest fire. Like a small spark, it can ignite a wildfire that is almost impossible to extinguish. I am convinced that everyone has experienced such "communicative wildfires". A word or a sentence was said that hurt the other person very much. Perhaps spoken thoughtlessly, or perhaps intentionally. Trust was then destroyed by a bad word. Through a quarrel the friends parted and never talked to each other again. Through bad and hurtful words, many a marriage was destroyed.


In world politics, words of powerful people have even cost millions of lives. The order to wage a war has always had devastating consequences for people, animals and the environment at all times. Wars begin with words full of hatred.


This Bible word challenges me to be careful about my language. I do not want to hurt anyone with what I say. What I say or write should help other people. It should become a blessing for others.


Jesus Christ spoke the following words (Gospel of Matthew ch. 12, verses 36 + 37, New International Version): “But I tell you that everyone will have to give account on the day of judgment for every empty word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” 

 wish you to find good, kind words for your fellow human beings every day. Words that build up and do not destroy. Words that create trust. Words that feel good.


God save us from becoming spiritual and linguistic arsonists. May He help us to preserve and save lives. At any time, like the fire department.


Thank you for listening to me. God bless you in spirit, soul and body. I cordially invite you to the next short sermon on March 15. Until then: Stay under the blessing of God!

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© 2023 Hans-Peter Nann