I was reflecting today about those who really have the power to hurt us. It isn't strangers, goodness knows. Most of us couldn't care less about what they think. But when someone close to us, a family member or someone we thought of as a friend, hurts us, says cutting or unkind words or judges us in the most negative light...well, that's when words cut like a knife. And that's when relationships break down sometimes never to be mended.
How often do we say mean things to someone, sometimes in front of others which adds to the humiliation. How often do we feel justified because we believe our assessment is the true one?
For the rest of Advent I want to keep close guard over my tongue and examine my conscience to see where I have used that "little member" to hurt instead of heal. God gave us the gift of speech to uplift and build up the body of Christ. May we never use it like St. James warns as "a restless evil, full of deadly poison." One of the first obligations of the Christian is control over the tongue. God help us if we fail in that and use our tongue instead to see "how great a fire it kindles."