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Teachers need to be careful and teach properly
1-2 My friends, don’t all of you try to become teachers of God’s word. Only the right ones can do that. It is like this, all of us make mistakes and we get trouble from those mistakes. But if we teach people, and we make a mistake so that we teach them something that is wrong, we will get really big trouble from that. It is hard for us to control our tongues so that we say everything properly. If you can control your tongue you are pretty good, and you can control your whole body.
Think about the people that ride horses. They put a little bit of steel in the horse’s mouth and they tie reins to it, then they use that bit of steel to turn the whole horse around and steer it wherever they want it to go. Think too about ships. They are like that too. A ship is very big, but the captain can use the little rudder at the back to steer it around. Even if strong winds want to blow it one way the captain can steer it another way using that little rudder. Well, these are pictures of our tongues. They are only little, like that bit of steel and that little rudder. But our tongues can do a lot of damage if we use them to talk up big and say that we are really good. Think about fire. A very little spark can start a fire that can burn up a lot of bush. In the same way each of us has a little tongue, and it is like a little spark of fire inside us. It can say really bad things, and tell lies and that can make the rest of our body bad too. It can make everything in our lives go wrong, like a spark of fire can make a big bushfire. The devil in hell makes us say those bad things. It is like he uses our tongues to start that fire and it grows like a bushfire and gets us into a lot of trouble. People can control all kinds of wild animals and birds and snakes and fish. They can make them quiet and train them to do whatever their boss wants them to do. But nobody can control his own tongue properly. It is always saying bad things and hurting people, like it has poison in it just like a cheeky snake.
9-12 Sometimes we use our tongue to tell God that he is good, and sometimes we use it to swear at people. And, remember, God made people to be like himself. So both good things and bad things come out of our mouths. That’s not right. Do you ever find fresh water and salt water coming from the same waterhole? No, it is never like that. And you never find 2 sorts of fruit on one tree. So our mouths shouldn’t say 2 sorts of things. We shouldn’t say good things and bad things with the same mouth.
Think God’s way, not the devil’s way
13 Do you reckon you can think good and you know if something is right or wrong? If you do, you have to show everybody that you think properly by quietly doing good things for other people. You are thinking properly if you do those good things but don’t tell anybody about it. 14-15 But if you only think about things that are good for yourself, and if you are jealous of other people and hate other people, you are not thinking God’s way. That is the devil’s way. You can’t hide it by telling lies about yourself and saying that you are really good. 16 If people are jealous of each other and if they only do things to make themselves happy and if they don’t think about anyone else, soon they will start fighting each other, and they will get into all kinds of trouble.
17 Whenever we think God’s way we are like this.
– We keep away from doing anything bad.
– We want to make other people happy and help them to be friends with each other.
– We are gentle all the time and let other people have their way.
– We are good to people and do things to help them.
– We are fair to everybody. We don’t treat some people good and other people like rubbish.
– We don’t try to pretend that we are better than we really are.
18 Whenever somebody teaches people to live the right way like that, those other people stop fighting each other and start to be good to each other.