James 31 My brothers, not many of you should be teachers. You know that we who teach will be punished more than other people. 2 We all do many wrong things. Any man who never says anything wrong is right in every way. He is able to make his whole body do what is right. 3 We put a piece of iron in the mouths of horses so they will obey us. Then we can make their whole bodies go where we want them to go. 4 Look at the big boats also. They are very big. The strong winds push them along. But a man uses a small piece of wood and makes the boat go where he wants it to go. 5 A person’s tongue is like that. It is a small part of the body but it talks about big things. A very small fire can burn a big pile of wood! 6 The tongue is like a fire. It is like a whole world of trouble. It is a part of our body. And it makes our whole body bad. It burns up our whole life. And the fire that makes the tongue burn comes from hell. 7 People have been able to tame all kinds of animals, birds, snakes, and fish. 8 But no one can tame the tongue. It is a bad thing that will not be ruled. It is full of poison that can kill. 9 We praise our Lord and Father with our tongues. And we speak wrong words about people with our tongues, even though they were made like God. 10 Praising and wrong words come out of the same mouth! My brothers, this should not be so. 11 Do good water and bad water both come from the same place? 12 My brothers, do olives come from a fig tree? Or do figs come from a vine? No, they do not! Salt water and fresh water do not both come from the same place. 13 Who among you is wise and knows about things? He should show what he knows by his good life. He will not be proud because he is wise. 14 Are you a person who is very jealous? In your hearts you want to be better than others? Then stop being proud of yourself. Do not say what is not true. 15 God did not give you wisdom like that. But it comes from this world. It comes from people. It comes from bad spirits. 16 If people are jealous of others, their lives are not right. They do every kind of wrong thing to get what they want. They confuse and upset people. 17 First of all, when God makes people wise, they are holy. They do not fight. They are gentle. They listen to what other people say. They are very kind and do many good things. They do not quarrel. They do not say what is not true. 18 People who do not quarrel have peace. When there is peace, there is a good life.
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