Controlling our words requires wisdom, and true wisdom comes from God. Wisdom from above is pure, peaceful, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, and sincere (v.17). The US has been increasingly divided among philosophical, political, and social lines for too long. Like many empires of the ancient world, the US is collapsing in on itself. This time of quarantine may be an opportunity to revisit wisdom over opinion and materialism. We have been given time to reflect and think. If only believers act on James’s words to control our tongues, there could be a substantial shift in discordant discourses. Reason and impartiality, mercy and sincerity go a long way toward reconciliation.
While speaking with wisdom is important for everyone, it is especially crucial for teachers, whom James is still addressing. Teachers are in a place of authority, and many people are not willing to question that authority. Teachers who want the best for their students must hold fast to what is true, rather than what is popular or expedient. Those teachers who rely on and speak from God’s wisdom will be recognized as set apart. They will be found trustworthy, and their sincere compassion for their students will be evident to all.
A verse for teachers in the time of COVID-19: My mouth shall speak wisdom; the meditation of my heart shall be understanding. Psalm 49:3