7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:7–8, NKJV)
By his intellect, cunning and power, man has subdued beast and fowl, reptiles and sea creatures. Fulfilling God’s creative design, human beings “have dominion” over every living creature, subduing it to our will and purposes (Gen. 1:26, 28). Even so, the lion-tamer does not turn his back on the lion, but respects its prowess and power. To emphasis the constant, consistent oversight of our tongues, James says “no man can tame the tongue.” We must continually monitor our tongues in order to rule over the evil it would otherwise unleash. Like the asp, whose venom awaits injection into its victim, the tongue’s poison is potent, poised to inflict its deadly affects upon others. Its poison takes different forms, all of which are evil: Profanity, gossip, tale bearing, backbiting, slander and lies to name a few (Psa. 58:3-5). Control your tongue by diligently guarding your heart. Don’t turn your back on your tongue; it needs constant surveillance.