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In our reading from James we are taught the power of the tongue! The message translation tells verses 7-11 like this:

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

So the bible doesn’t just describe the tongue as a killer, but a wanton killer, a deliberate and intentional killer, but what does it kill? I have never seen a BBC news headline of ‘man tongued to death in street’ or ‘Military testing its new range of tongue warfare’ but yet the bible says it a killer.

It is a killer because it can kill confidence.

When I was 17, my sixth form business studies teacher routinely told me I was a waste of space and would amount to nothing, a killing blow to my 17 year old self confidence that had a major effect on my A Levels. It took time to recover from those killer blows that were issued in no more than 15 second blasts.

At times we can strike with the killer blow without thinking or without knowing the power the tongue has.

Maybe this is why Jesus is so quick to reprimand Peter in Mark 8, in our gospel message.

Jesus is asking the disciples who do the people say He is? They reply that the people were saying Jesus is Elijah or John the Baptist, Jesus hones in and asks but who do you say I am, to which Peter says you are the Messiah.

In the next verse Jesus is explaining about his death and how he will rise back from the dead and Peter takes Jesus aside and tells him off for the blasphemy to suggest that he is the Messiah.

This is the same tongue that just glorified Jesus by proclaiming him as the messiah is then telling Jesus off for prophesying the upcoming events.

Jesus then tells peter “Get away from me, Satan! You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Jesus is throwing some serious shade at Peter.

It simple to do because we view the world from our human perspective rather than God’s view, but our churches mustn’t be places that prevents a pioneer spirit but one that champions it. Churches that whispers prayers of confidence, that stands alongside the pioneers, churches than rolls up it’s sleeves says ‘hold my coffee’ I’m going to get stuck in, I’m going to make a difference in this world.

As churches we are called to we are to be pioneers, and you cannot pioneer doing exactly the same thing again and again and again! The Holy Spirit will guide us to situations that aren’t our norm and may seem impossible. A simple word can kill that pioneer spirit, phases like ‘we cant do that’ or ‘that’s impossible’ can kill the ‘can do because to all thing to I AM is possible’ before it evens starts. Even if we have doubts, we must be careful not to unleash our ‘tiger tongues’ so as to avoid it destroying others around us.

Our churches must be places of where creativity and alternative thinking to mission are embraced. I am sure than many people in the late 1700s dismissed the Sunday school moment as not being ‘church’ but yet it thrived and became a mainstay of most churches. In more recent times we see things on the church calendar like Messy church, Godly play or Sweaty church. Easily dismissible by our tiger tongues because they don’t look like the classic church services we are used to, but yet they act to bring people into relationship with Jesus and fellowship of the people that love him and this is what church is.


  1. Maybe you need to forgive someone whose tiger tongue has damaged your confidence?
  2. Think about someone in your church who could benefit from some encouragement. Take some time to encourage them