The Sidney Sun-Telegraph - Serving proudly since 1873 as the beautiful Nebraska Panhandle's first newspaper

'The Mighty Midget'


February 2, 2022 | View PDF

We may not be what we say we are, but what we say is what we really are! Sounds like a lot of double talk, but there is a bit of truth in this statement.

James Chapter three almost exclusively deals with one of the most practical issues of life having to do with the tongue. It has been said, that no matter how hard we try to hide it, eventually, we will reveal our true self through what we say.

“If anyone can control his tongue, it proves that he has perfect control over himself in every other way. We can make a large horse turn around and go wherever we want by means of a small bit in his mouth. And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. 

So also the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do. A great forest can be set on fire by one tiny spark.” (James 3:2-5 - The Living Bible) As with the horse, the rudder and the fire, James makes the claim that the tongue is a mighty midget, though it be very tiny, is ever so powerful and influential for good or for evil, and can control our whole life. Does our tongue control our life?

We may not all be aware of it, but all of us, including myself, have a tongue problem, Why? Because we all have one! Tongue abuse can come in the form of profanity, gossip or criticism, boasting or bragging, discrimination or judgment or just plain lying and misinformation. The tongue can inspire great things to happen, whether they be good or evil. “Out of the same mouth proceeds blessing and cursing. Dear brothers and sisters, these things ought not to be.” (James 3:10) With the media platforms of today, such as, Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Tic Tok, Instagram, Blogs, Podcasts and various chatrooms, there is plenty of opportunity to give others a tongue lashing or give some encouragement. The tongue can control our relationships, our reputation and even our destiny.

So, what can be done about it? Can the tongue be tamed? James says, “Men have trained every kind of animal or bird that lives and every kind of reptile and fish, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is always ready to pour out its deadly poison.” (James 3:7,8) Remember the old slogan by Smokey the Bear, “Only you can prevent forest fires.”

Well, being careful, and controlling our actions may work with forest fires, but James says it doesn’t work with the tongue. What we do with the tongue is not the solution, because taming the tongue by our own effort is impossibile. We can’t tame our own tongue, any more than we can save ourselves.

The tongue always tells the truth and condition of our spiritual nature. James illustrates this by saying, “ Does a spring of water bubble out first with fresh water and then with bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree, or figs from a grape vine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool.” (James 3:11,12) In other words, whatever is inside will come out. No matter how hard we try to hide it, or pretend, we will eventually reveal our true self, and will express that true self through our tongues and actions. Jesus said it most truthfully, “for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt 12:35) The tongue always tells the truth! It’s just a matter of time. We may not be what we say we are, but what we say, is what we really are!

The good news is that God can save lives, change natures and tame tongues. It is all about where our wisdom comes from. “Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

This wisdom descends not from above, but is earthly, sensual, and devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3: 13-17)

How do we get this kind of wisdom? It comes from above. It comes from God! We don’t need clean language, we need clean hearts and minds. Only God changes hearts and minds, then He tames tongues. Some motherly advice, “Never let your tongue say anything about anyone until you ask yourself 3 Questions…. Is it True? Is it Kind? Will it do any good to say it? Prayer “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing in thy sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer. (Psalm 19:14) Now, go and say the right thing!

Retired Pastor Jim Nichols – Sidney Seventh-day Adventist Church


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