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Controlling the Things We Say

3 1My brothers [and sisters], not many of you should become teachers. Why? Because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly than other people. 2We all make many mistakes. If there were a person who never said anything wrong, then that person would be perfect. A person like that would be able to control their whole body, too. 3We put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us. With these bits in the horses' mouths, we can control their whole body. 4It is the same with ships. A ship is very big, and it is pushed by strong winds. But a very small rudder controls that big ship. The man who controls the rudder decides where the ship will go. The ship goes where the man wants. 5It is the same with our tongue. It is a small part of the body, but it boasts about doing great things. A big forest fire can be started with only a little flame. 6The tongue is like a fire. It is a world of evil among the parts of our body. How? The tongue spreads its evil through our whole body. It starts a fire that influences all of life. The tongue gets this fire from hell. 7People can tame every kind of wild animal, bird, reptile, and fish. People have already tamed all these things. 8But no person can tame (control) the tongue. It is wild and evil. It is full of poison that can kill. 9We use our tongues to praise our Lord and Father (God), but then we curse (say bad things to) people. And God made those people like himself. 10Praises and curses come from the same mouth! My brothers [and sisters], this should not happen. 11Do good water and bad water flow from the same spring? No! 12My brothers [and sisters], can a fig tree make olives? No! Can a grapevine make figs? No! And a well full of salty water cannot give good water.

True Wisdom

13Is there any person among you who is truly wise and understanding? Then he should show his wisdom by living right. He should do good things with humility. A wise person does not boast. 14If you are selfish and have bitter jealousy in your hearts, then you have no reason to boast. Your boasting is a lie that hides the truth. 15That kind of "wisdom" does not come from God. That "wisdom" comes from the world. It is not spiritual. It is from the devil. 16Where there is jealousy and selfishness, there will be confusion and every kind of evil. 17But the wisdom that comes from God is like this: First, it is pure. It is also peaceful, gentle, and easy to please. This wisdom is always ready to help people who have trouble and to do good things for other people. This wisdom is always fair and honest. 18People who work for peace in a peaceful way get the good things that come from right living.

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