Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Warren Wiersbe, in his commentary series, used the following illustration:
A man at work one day, a professing Christian, got angry and turned loose with a series of oaths and profanities. Embarrassed, he turned to his coworker and said, “I don’t know why I said that. It really isn’t in me.” His partner wisely replied, “It had to be in you, or it wouldn’t have come out of you.”
In real life, I had a friend who faced a similar situation. He, in his younger days(while a believer), had been noted for letting loose with an oath or two when angry or upset. One day, he decided he should clean up his act and quit all of that. His solution was to pick some simple nonsensical word to use in situations where before he would have cursed. I don’t recall what he said the word was, but I do recall that he said he would use that word in place of a curse word. Let’s say the word was “bullfrog.” Every time he would get angry, instead of cursing, he would say, “bullfrog.” That went along fine until one day a co-worker, who happened to be a non-believer, said the following: “You realize, of course, that using that stupid word doesn’t really change what you mean, right?” Ouch.
Discerning what James is teaching us here is not particularly difficult; in fact, it is very easy. We have already studied the tongue quite a bit, and this passage just continues this analysis.
Note some of his comparisons here: blessing and cursing, sweet and bitter, salt water and fresh. The common vein among these is simple; one of each pair is good and one is not good.
If we show through our words both good and bad consistently, which would see say is the real reflection of what is really inside?