I Shudder to Think

I shuddered this morning as I read, “Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” James 3:1

fearful turtleI have struggled lately and find myself, once again, searching for answers for direction and clarity in purpose. God, the captain of my ship, is who I go to for answers. This morning like many others I laid my confusion at the feet of Jesus.  I sat down, opened my Bible and begin reading. I shuddered over the words judged more strictly.  Writers like teachers impart knowledge and wield potential influence. I may not have a formal classroom with desks and chair; as a writer and blogger the internet is my classroom and the written word my medium. Anyone who reads what I have written is a potential student. Judged more strictly … presume… teachers…. all neon signs. To presume means to take for granted something exists or is the case. “Lord, have I presumed too much”, I ask.  I mess up so much; do I truly desire to run the risk of stricter judgment? Not really.

The passage goes on to say, “Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire….

I sat quietly before the Lord; the only response I could muster, “Oh my goodness!” Could my writing have an adverse effect on another person?  Could my being a speaker at retreats and conferences, my being a writer and teacher of the Word, do harm?  The Holy Spirit drew my eyes back to verse 5, “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.” fire-breatherA great forest set on fire by a small spark…  That would be me, a little spark hardly worth mentioning.  What damage could I do? Yet, there right in front of me, God’s Word state, “the tongue also is a fire”. My body grew tenser as the realization I will be held to a stricter accountability takes shape. Yes, my words do possess the power to influence; bad or good. I don’t desire to have a tongue used for evil, or which starts a fire of influence which God never intended. My desire’s always been to make a positive difference in the lives of others, not do harm.  God had my attention! Once again the Holy Spirit drew me back to James, this time verse 4. God impressed upon me the need to follow Him; to fulfill the purpose and walk the path set before me. Like the large ship turned by a tiny rudder, I can influence change positively; to do so God must be the pilot. Abide in Him and allow Him to pilot and I have nothing to fear. Whew! Good news!

I don’t know how many times I wished I could take back words spoken in haste or anger. In those moments my tongue is very much a tiny spark igniting a forest fire full of hurt. Hurt which strikes others to the core, much like a deadly poison. James goes on to say, “For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”

Here’s to keeping my tongue in check, being considerate of others, full of mercy and nurturing good fruit-the Fruit of the Spirit talked about in Galatians.  Here’s to being a tiny spark of influence for good!

Until next time,


About Sandra

I became a writer in my later years. I love blogging and sharing life with others. I speak to women's groups about the Christian life.
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5 Responses to I Shudder to Think

  1. lisalovesfrogs says:

    You have been a BEACON of good, positive growth and positive infuence on me, Sandra, and I ask god to bless you for what you have done for me!!!!  HUGS!! Lisa

    Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE Smartphone


  2. Lorena Keck says:

    Thanks for your comments, Sandra. So true to each of us. I also write and have written the entire Old Testament as a chronological story.I endeavored to stay true to the written word (without quoting) and to leave my own words/ideas out. It is a big responsibility to teach and lead, but I feel strongly each Christian should know what the Old Testament is about–especially our children we are teaching at home and in our churches.


    • Sandra says:


      WOW, the entire Old Testament as a story; I am impressed. I struggle with writing my blog cannot imagine tackling the entire Old Testament. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment and providing me encouragement along the way.


  3. Marian Bass says:

    Great Blog, we should all consider our words more carefully as they can cause such harm or lead another to Christ. I wish I would think more carefully before I speak. I will keep your blog where I can read it more often. I will pray that the Lord would lead you to be true to His word when teaching through your blog or at your classes. Marian


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