1 Dear brothers and sisters,* not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged by God with greater strictness.1
2 We all make many mistakes, but those who control their tongues can also control themselves in every other way.
3 We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth.
4 And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong.
5 So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.
6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.
7 People can tame all kinds of animals and birds and reptiles and fish,
8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison.
9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God.
10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!
11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?
12 Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can't draw fresh water from a salty pool.
13 If you are wise and understand God's ways, live a life of steady goodness so that only good deeds will pour forth. And if you don't brag about the good you do, then you will be truly wise!
14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your hearts, don't brag about being wise. That is the worst kind of lie.
15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and motivated by the Devil.
16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and every kind of evil.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no partiality and is always sincere.
18 And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace and reap a harvest of goodness.
Read James 4