The Greek word “γλυκύς” (glukus) means “sweet”.

Can you think of an English word that sounds like this Greek word and has a similar meaning?

I came across this word while studying a passage in James. In the passage, James compares a person’s mouth to a spring and their words to water that comes from the spring. He asks, “Does a spring pour out sweet [γλυκύς] and bitter water from the same opening?” (James 3:11). 

His answer to this question is, “no!” (see 3:12). In nature, a spring pour out only one kind of water.

But his answer to the implied question, “Does [your mouth] pour out sweet and bitter [words] from the same opening,” is a little harder to answer.

Unfortunately, he is forced to admit that people do “pour out” both blessings and curses from the “same opening.” But, he does not commend this! Rather, he says, “My brothers and sisters, these things should not be this way” (3:10).

When you think about your words, are they γλυκύς (sweet, fresh, life-giving)? Or are they bitter (salty, evil, venomous)?

In another chapter, James says, “If anyone thinks he is religious without controlling his tongue, his religion is useless [literally, “lacking truth”] and he deceives himself” (1:26). So, if you call yourself a Christian and you are not able to control your words, it’s time for a spiritual check-up. God does not want you to use bitter words. And, if you have His Spirit living inside of you, he is grieved by words like these. 

If you aren’t sure how to change, James says, “Now, if any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask of God- who gives to all generously and ungrudgingly- and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith without doubting…” (James 1:5-6a). So, go to Him. Ask Him, in faith, for wisdom. Let Him help you change.

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