1 My brothers and sisters, most of you shouldn't want to be teachers. You know that those of us who teach will be held more accountable. 2 All of us get tripped up in many ways. Suppose someone is never wrong in what he says. Then he is a perfect man. He is able to keep his whole body under control. 3 We put a bit in the mouth of a horse to make it obey us. We can control the whole animal with it. 4 And how about ships? They are very big. They are driven along by strong winds. But they are steered by a very small rudder. It makes them go where the captain wants to go. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small part of the body. But it brags a lot. Think about how a small spark can set a big forest on fire.
What you say and what you don't say are both important. Proper speech is not only saying the right words at the right time, but it is also controlling your desire to say what you shouldn't. Examples of an untamed tongue include gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teaching, exaggerating, complaining, flattering, and lying. Before you speak, ask: "Is what I want to say true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?"