My granddaughter Bree loved the circus, but she was afraid of the tiger. She had no reason to be, however, because the huge old cat had been tamed and was caged. It was hopelessly overweight, and I suspect it no longer had any teeth. Along with its lion friends, the striped beauty went through its routine in meek subjection.

You can tame a tiger, a lion, a leopard, a cheetah, and other wild animals, especially if you work with them from birth. But according to the apostle James, you cannot tame the human tongue. He wrote, “It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison” (3:8).

James used other vivid analogies to illustrate the enormous power of this little member of the body. A bit in a horse’s mouth can turn the animal to the right or to the left (v.3). A ship’s rudder can steer a huge vessel in a raging storm (v.4). A single match or even a small spark can start a fire that can destroy an entire forest (v.5). So too, though the tongue is a small organ, it can do great harm.

Even under the strictest self-discipline and constant monitoring, the tongue’s unruly nature lurks dangerously below the surface. You can tame a tiger, but only by prayer and watchfulness can you control your tongue. —DCE