Some of these forests have been growing for years and even for hundreds of years and some of them look pretty grand with their lovely tall trees and dense woodland and with all of that wildlife in there and so you could say that there is a whole way of life going on in a lovely big forest and yet one little flame could so easily change all of that.
Jesus’ brother James had a lot to say about the tongue, he said, “And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity;” – what he meant by this is that the tongue is a fire that could very well be talking from the world and not from the Spirit of God and if we are not careful when we talk about the world then we could be talking from the iniquity that is in the world and so he goes on to say, “…so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body,” What he meant here when he says “so is the tongue among our members” is that he’s talking about the Christian members, so you have these various Christian gatherings and groups and the last thing anyone should do in any of these groups is start talking from the iniquity that is in the world because, as he goes on to say, “…it defileth (pollutes) the whole body,” – The whole body here is the body of Christ in that one group could be like the arm, another group could be the leg and another group could be the feet etc. And then he says, “…and setteth on fire the course of nature;”
So some of these Christian groups have been gathering together for years and so sometimes you even have a whole nation that becomes Christian and so you could liken a whole nation to being like a lovely big forest that’s been growing for years, and again, you have this wonderful way of life going on in that lovely big forest and sad to say, all it could take is one small tongue, or in other words, one small flame to set this whole forest on fire and it can literally ruin “the course of nature” as it says here. And then he goes on to tell us where a lot of this fire is actually coming from when he says, “…and it is set on fire of hell.” – which in basic language means, “is set on fire by hell.”
So clearly, we all have to be so careful with our tongues, especially online here because as it says here, the tongue can be set on fire by hell itself! So you could literally have one unguarded moment or perhaps something you didn’t think through or even something that you didn’t even mean at all, at least you didn’t mean any hurt at all and yet this could become inflammatory because it could so easily be set on fire by hell itself or, in other words, “set on fire of hell” as James put it. And so who can deny that we have so many forest fires online because there are so many loose tongues and so many people that aren’t careful enough with their tongues and then on the other hand you have people that are so so careful with their tongues and yet, even these can be set on fire of hell and so St James in full says here:
“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 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 3:5,6)
Remember, St James here grew up with Jesus Himself. Jesus’ mum and dad were of course Joseph and Mary who went on to have more children and there were at least eight children in Jesus’ family and so you could say that this is where James is also coming from as squabbles have a way of breaking out in large families and so he very very wisely advises: