After reading in James, I had to come clean with myself about my words, tone, and response to myself and others.

James 3:5-6 (MSG) “It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.”

This hit home for me. Let me start by saying, my name is Erika Greene, and there are times that I struggle with the “untamed tongue” syndrome. I have struggled with keeping quiet most of my life. I can remember a time in high school where the teacher moved me away from a friend I sat by in class because we were talking. I remember my teacher, Mrs. May saying to me, “Erika, please go sit in the back of the class because you cannot stop talking.” I remember like it was yesterday. I said, “Mrs. May, it doesn’t matter where you move me, I’m still going to talk.” Looking back, I know that was probably not the wisest thing to say. Afterward, she sent me to a room where I was alone. I had no choice expect to sit in silence. For a talker, that’s a sure way to make me squirm in my seat.

In high school, it was talking to others. The older I got and the more pain surfaced in my life, and using words became a way to tear people down or defend myself against those that threatened me. I didn’t realize I was tearing people down at the time because it was never my intention. My son brought this to my attention. I remember coming home fussing about who knows what at the time and making a comment to him about not taking out the trash. The fact was he forgot to take out the garbage. He had to be responsible and remember, but I did not have to use my tongue to tear his esteem down. He made me aware of it that day (good for him), and it was at that moment I realized I had been doing that to those I loved dearly. I looked at why I was doing it because clearly, it wasn’t about the trash.


After being honest with myself, I realized I was frustrated about all the things I agreed to take on. I felt as if I was doing everything on my own, looking out for everyone else, and no one cared about me. Well, that’s not true at all. I have a family and friends who love me dearly especially my son. The real issue is I never expressed being overwhelmed and had difficulty asking for help. That was more about my pride vs. the chores that need to be completed. I often found myself taking on more than needed and then became frustrated afterwards. The issue was never about my son or completing his chore of taking out the trash; it was about my unresolved issues. It was about my unresolved issues of not understanding how to express my feelings, people pleasing, and generational behaviors that were passed down. I knew I wanted to be different so I started my journey by acknowledging my behavior and taking ownership to change it.


If you can relate to my story, I want to encourage you to stop for a moment and look for any unresolved issues from your past. Then share your struggle with someone you trust or a licensed counselor. It’s overwhelming to think that a small part of our human body can cause great destruction. However, the good news is that we can also use our words to encourage others, share our stories of hope, and inspire others to change.

Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.”

My prayer for us this week is that we would be thoughtful about our words towards others and ourselves. I pray that we would choose to speak the truth in love, be EX-POSED to the deeper areas in our lives where we need healing, and allow God to heal any pain that we have buried. I believe we have the courage to take a look within ourselves and the will power to take a step towards change!

Leave a comment and let us know how things are going for you this week and share ways that you were able to uplift others with the power of your words.


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