Tongue’s Hellfire

by | May 22, 2023

colorful painting of mad face

Fasten Your Seatbelt (No. 17)

From his talk, Peacemakers Needed

Part of the President Nelson Series

All blue quotes by President Russell M. Nelson (unless otherwise noted).

The Apostle James

His real name is Jacob. He was renamed James to appease King James and secure funding for the King James version Bible. (simplified one-sentence version of history)

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

James 3:6

How about that phrase “…set on fire of hell”?

James is part of the 1st Presidency of our world. Many of his words in the New Testament are powerful and right to the point. I’ve found myself wanting to give him “strict heed.” He tells it as it is and Chapter 3 is worth a read.

President Nelson

President Nelson did not mince words when he listed common types of speech and interactions as coming from Satan’s playbook.

It gave me pause to think of our everyday, typical dynamics and dialogue on those terms – yet the apostle James called out the same thing.

Note which of the following describes communication and dialogue in your life.

Civility and decency seem to have disappeared during this era of polarization and passionate disagreements.

Vulgarity, faultfinding, and evil speaking of others are all too common. Too many pundits, politicians, entertainers, and other influencers throw insults constantly. I am greatly concerned that so many people seem to believe that it is completely acceptable to condemn, malign, and vilify anyone who does not agree with them. Many seem eager to damage another’s reputation with pathetic and pithy barbs!

Anger never persuades. Hostility builds no one. Contention never leads to inspired solutions. Regrettably, we sometimes see contentious behavior even within our own ranks. We hear of those who belittle their spouses and children, of those who use angry outbursts to control others, and of those who punish family members with the “silent treatment.” We hear of youth and children who bully and of employees who defame their colleagues. (President Nelson)

Let’s pull out the list:

  • vulgarity
  • fault-finding
  • evil-speaking
  • insults
  • condemn
  • malign
  • vilify
  • damage reputations
  • pathetic and pithy barbs
  • anger
  • hostility
  • contention
  • belittle
  • silent treatment
  • belittle
  • defame

Unfortunately, these are accepted in society and are often deeply embedded in our family dynamics. It’s a challenge for us all. Which ones have you struggled with in the last week? Or even yesterday?

It’s sobering (extremely sobering) to realize they put us on Team Loser-fer and accomplish his designs. They make for our misery and help Satan’s cause.

14 But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.
15 This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish.
16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
(James 3: 14-16)


Awareness helps. New perspectives help. Thank you, President Nelson, for not sparing us and for being entirely truthful. Our family and community dynamics are corrupted, and Satan surrounds us. May we tackle our talk and dynamics and upgrade them from here on out? It is my fervent prayer, both for myself and others.

Warning: This may happen as you improve your reactions and interactions. I have found it means I have to hang out with some friends less – who defame and criticize frequently. Even friends I honestly love – I am no longer as comfortable in their company. And my time gravitates to those who are more peaceful or who at least allow and accept me to be more peaceful.

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