Devotional 3 of 3
James 3:3-12 New International Version (NIV)
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 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. 6 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.7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
In our first Impact Directive Devotional a few weeks ago, we talked about the independence of our tongues. We learned that our tongue is the only muscle in our body that works independently of our skeleton, and we looked at how our speech can sometimes seem fiercely independent of our minds. Our tongues, as our devotional Bible passage points out, are not easily tamed.
In our second devotional in this series, we talked about the fact that our tongues have power. When we wield the power in our tongues, we can either build people up or tear them down. Let’s agree to seek kindness, gentleness, compassion, understanding. Let’s seek to harness the power of our tongues to do good.
In our third and final devotional in this series, we’re going to explore the unique imprint that our tongues have and how that correlates to our unique imprint on the world.
Did you know that your tongue print is as unique as your finger print? I had no idea.
We can be uniquely identified by our tongues. This is super interesting to me and has so much application beyond the physical prints. Let’s consider this uniqueness and how our tongues play a part in how we show up in the world.
If you’re anything at all like me, you might be a little squeamish about anything that makes you stand out or show up very different from other people. But squeamish or not, what comes rolling off our tongues absolutely identifies us. In addition, we can be tagged by our vocal tone and the cadence and style of our speech. It’s all kind of nifty when you think about it.
But what about the fact that the content that comes rolling off of our tongues is sometimes less than flattering. On too many occasions I had to hope that no one would remember what had come rolling off of mine. Spoiler alert if you haven’t read my book, I’ve had some problems controlling my tongue.
The way that we show up to the world is largely tied to our communication in the world. Sure, our appearance and surroundings can have an impact on how people “see” us, but what we say and how we communicate verbally and non-verbally are a much more powerful indicator of our uniqueness. I can dress like other people, but other people can’t be me in the same way that I can be me.
That’s both reassuring and scary at the same time. What am I saying to others that I want to have out there as my “print” on the world. What is my unique “tongue print,” per se?
When I first learned a few weeks ago that we had unique tongue prints, I took a pretty long pause to consider the magnitude of that. How appropriate that our tongues would be able to identify us. And how profound that we have the power to shape that non-physical print on the world.
How do you want to show up? What do you want your unique imprint to be? What is the “impression” that you are going to leave on others?
The challenge I leave you with today is to create an imprint that leaves a work of art behind, as much as that is humanly possible. Craft something that others will want to “look” at and take to heart. Be an impression on others that you would absolutely want imitated over and over again.
Who knew? Tongue prints. I’m going work on mine.
Connie Benoit Sirois
Author | Speaker | Trainer
We are called to love others as ourselves. Our communication gives us continual opportunities to do this. We should never miss a chance to honor others. I’d love for you to read about my mission.
Find out how to increase your ability to have a positive impact on others, even when situations and people are negative.