For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. (ESV)
I have some bad news. You are not perfect. This may come as a terribly depressing shock to you, but it's true. Don't feel bad. I am not perfect either. James tells us in this verse that we all stumble in many ways. No one is exempt from the depraved corruption that is a part of every human being's very nature.
Can you imagine meeting someone who was perfect? What would that be like? They would get angry at an injustice, yet not lash out in hateful speech at the one who wronged them. The perfect person would make sure that everything they did built others up instead of ever tearing someone down. The perfect man would be full of grace.
Do you know that James knew the perfect man? James is a brother of Jesus himself. I am sure that he spent his whole life being told, "Why can't you be more like Jesus?" "Jesus would not behave like this." "Get your act together." "Your brother is coming back. Will you be ready?" James knew the one who did not stumble in what he said. Jesus was perfect. We are not.
James speaks in this whole verse of the whole body, but he narrows his focus to the tongue. Have you ever wondered why the tongue gets so much attention? It is because the tongue broadcasts to the world what is on the inside of us. When we are quiet our evil intentions can hide. When we open our mouths everyone knows the darkness that lives inside us.
Take a moment and ask the Lord to help you to gain control of your tongue. You are not perfect. The one who is perfect loves you and will help you.