And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.James 3:6
Language is a window for the world we see. When we seek the three fundamentals, Beauty, Truth, and Goodness, we rely on our words. Language is not only a window for the world we see, but also a lamp to lead us to a series of new realizations.
When we ponder and reflect on various things such as ourselves, peoples, societies, lives, the worlds, the universes, God, even things like nothingness and emptiness, we use language. We use our tongue.
Right now, I’m writing this by using a series of words as these are the necessary ingredients to craft my ideas to settle them down and hopefully make them deliverable to my new realizations.
It is true that writing is thinking. We can daydream all day long, and yet our ideas could rarely formulate themselves unless and until we write them down. Language is a window for the world. Without it, the world remains as chaos like what a newborn baby sees or like the state before God’s utterance:
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.Genesis 1:2-3
We could only see God by transcending such a grid of language. The paradox is that only by realizing its limitation, we could see a glimpse of His transcendence. Language is such limited, nevertheless, one of our indispensable tools. And yet, it is one of the tools we can hardly manage.
When we say life is suffering, what we recognize is a set of negative words (windows) through which we see our life. It is not that life itself is suffering, but we interpret our life as such through a set of words we choose and use.
If we utter and use various negative, destructive words, then, as James 3:6 says, our tongue is indeed on fire that defiles our whole body, sets on fire the course of nature, and eventually sets on fire of the hell.
Even worse is its uncontrollability.
For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.James 3:7-8
James is even saying that nobody can tame the tongue. And such an unruly evil is full of deadly poison.
Language is one of our precious tools, which is a lamp to light up the path to the Beauty, Truth, and Goodness. It could be, however, a deadly poison to transform everything or everyone into the hell. It is not that we are in the hell, but we describe and interpret our life as the hell with our untamed, contaminated, destructive words.
Why do we kill one another? Why do we kill ourselves? Why do we love and hate ourselves and others too much? Because our tongue is on fire with contamination.
How can we avoid it? We can’t.
What we could do is to fill our mind with the Words of God instead.
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.Colossians 3:16-17
We should see the world only through the grid of His Words, not the words of our small self. Even when Jesus answered to the devil’s temptations, he never used his words but cited the Words of God, saying, “it is written.”
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God… Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God…. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.Matthew 4:4,7,10
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