NIV 1:26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Not all words are reliable evidence of truth. What is true is that our words as believers count as evidence of our relationship to Jesus and that requires we “keep a tight rein on [our] tongues.” James was writing to people just like us who struggle with the temptation to waste our words as weapons to wound or masks to hide behind.
Weaponized words to hide behind are everywhere today. They’re one of the easiest ways we can be “polluted by the world.” This is James urgent reminder to us that our words are part of our worship. The words we speak every day have an impact on Jesus’s reputation as as surely as those we speak in church on Sunday. William Barclay says it this way “…worship is empty and idle unless it sends a man out to love God by loving his fellow-men and to walk more purely in the tempting ways of the world.”
“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” [NLT Micah 6:8].
Those are God’s words. Amen.