The tongue is a small member (of our body), yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body.... For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue - a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those wo are made in the image of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine, figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.
(Church in Wales Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)
Years ago my mother had a serious stroke. As we know with strokes it depends which side of your brain is affected as to what kind of outcomes occur. So if the stroke is on the right side of the brain weakness can occur in the left arm and leg and as well as a problem with one's sight. On the other side of the brain it can affect the right arm and leg and one's speech. There are many other effects that can occur, and outcomes can be temporary or permanent.
While she was in hospital I noticed a man next to her who was struggling to speak. He would respond to questions, and understood what was being said, but was unable to translate the word from the thought in his head to his mouth. This is not necessarily permanent, although the person has to work at getting full speech back. Unfortunately, for my mother her eyesight never improved - with a plate of food she could only see the left-hand side of the food in front of her.
Thinking about the words from James' epistle, above, it occurs to me that we could take a leaf out of the book of stroke sufferers with speech problems, whose bravery never fails to amaze me. Every word must be thought through and checked for accuracy, before it is pronounced. If we spent more time thinking about what to say, then perhaps all of us, including myself, might spend more time in praise and blessing others.
help us to use our speech wisely,
to think before we speak,
and to use our tongues to
praise and thank You.
May we also remember
that others are made in Your image,
and use our speech to encourage
and bless those around us.
You might like to look up the effects of right and left-sides strokes: