Start Up Words are crazy powerful, both positively and negatively. James wants to help us know how to use our words well, which is important because we all talk a lot! And it’s easy to get in trouble with our words, which means we could stand to have more wisdom and caution in the way we communicate. Researchers have found most people use about 17,000 words a day. How talkative do you think you are? Do you think you are above or below these averages? Explain. We all have thoughts and ideas we want to communicate, but we all do this differently. What medium are you most comfortable expressing yourself through (e.g., phone calls, texts, social media, blog posts, public speaking, and in-person conversations)? What medium are you least comfortable with? Discuss Together Read James 3:1-12 together. If you were publishing this passage as an article or blog post, what title would you give it and why? Don’t steal the one from your Bible! What argument is James making when he compares the tongue to bits and rudders? Do you agree with what he is saying? James says words are crazy powerful, which means they can be really helpful. Can you think of a significant conversation where someone gave you a powerful word of wisdom, encouragement, affection, belief, forgiveness, or invitation? How did it impact you How intentional are you about saying positive things to the people in your life? Do you think you leave a lot of unsaid positive things on the table? Jeff shared a powerful story about the lasting impact of wounding words. Can you relate to that story in any way? Have you been on the receiving end of powerfully negative words that have stuck with you? If you are comfortable, share with the group. We’ve all said words we regret—words that caused harm to someone we love. What have you learned about trying to tame your tongue? James says our words reflect our hearts. How do you think your word struggles relate to your heart struggles? Do you think your inner insecurities, unsettledness, guilt, bitterness, or anger are coming out in the way you speak? In what way does God need to work on your heart? Now, read Psalm 14:19 and Ephesians 4:29. How does relating to God as our rock and redeemer change the way we think about ourselves and speak to others? How have you personally experienced this? What have you learned about how to say something hard or difficult in a helpful and healthy way? How good is your filter? Do you need to change anything to do better with how you communicate Take Away Take a moment to go around the room and share what you see in each person. Have one or two people share one or two God-given characteristics and gifts you see in that person in your group. Who is one person you can have an ICNU (“I see in you”) conversation with? What would you want to tell them?