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James - Chapter 3

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1 Only a few of you, my brothers, should be teachers, bearing in mind that we shall receive a stricter judgement.

2 For we all trip up in many ways. Someone who does not trip up in speech has reached perfection and is able to keep the whole body on a tight rein.

3 Once we put a bit in the horse's mouth, to make it do what we want, we have the whole animal under our control.

4 Or think of ships: no matter how big they are, even if a gale is driving them, they are directed by a tiny rudder wherever the whim of the helmsman decides.

5 So the tongue is only a tiny part of the body, but its boasts are great. Think how small a flame can set fire to a huge forest;

6 The tongue is a flame too. Among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a whole wicked world: it infects the whole body; catching fire itself from hell, it sets fire to the whole wheel of creation.

7 Wild animals and birds, reptiles and fish of every kind can all be tamed, and have been tamed, by humans;

8 but nobody can tame the tongue -- it is a pest that will not keep still, full of deadly poison.

9 We use it to bless the Lord and Father, but we also use it to curse people who are made in God's image:

10 the blessing and curse come out of the same mouth. My brothers, this must be wrong-

11 does any water supply give a flow of fresh water and salt water out of the same pipe?

12 Can a fig tree yield olives, my brothers, or a vine yield figs? No more can sea water yield fresh water.

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13 Anyone who is wise or understanding among you should from a good life give evidence of deeds done in the gentleness of wisdom.

14 But if at heart you have the bitterness of jealousy, or selfish ambition, do not be boastful or hide the truth with lies;

15 this is not the wisdom that comes from above, but earthly, human and devilish.

16 Wherever there are jealousy and ambition, there are also disharmony and wickedness of every kind;

17 whereas the wisdom that comes down from above is essentially something pure; it is also peaceable, kindly and considerate; it is full of mercy and shows itself by doing good; nor is there any trace of partiality or hypocrisy in it.

18 The peace sown by peacemakers brings a harvest of justice.

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