How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell…
It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.
Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
(James 3:5-6, 8-10, 13-18 ESV)
Words matter. Words have power. Words have the power for righteousness, peace, and building up if they are drawn from the spring of life from God. Words have the power to sabotage, damage, and create dissension if they are drawn from the heart connected to a well of hell. James uses vivid language to describe the heart conditions of people as demonstrated by their speech.
As the video below demonstrates (two different clips combined into one video, a Christmas tree fire and a16,000 acre fire), all it takes is one careless “spark” of speech to cause incredible damage.