Oftentimes if I'm paddling on the Cumberland River, a barge much like the one above will come by. In fact, one just like this came by me this evening. It's important to stay out of a barge's way since they are much like trains in that they cannot stop on a dime.
But what's even more interesting is that barges don't create a lot of noise in the water. You would think something that big would create a loud wake, but it doesn't. However, that doesn't mean they're not churning up a lot of stuff far below the water's surface.
Even if words are spoken quietly or in a non-threatening tone, they can still have a profound affect on someone and churn up things for the receiver of those words in ways the speaker cannot see or imagine. And once something is spoken, it cannot be taken back and its effects cannot be stopped.
My tongue is one of the hardest things for me to control. There are so many things I have said in my life that I wish I could take back. I'm thankful for God's grace and forgiveness for the things I've said, and I pray for His grace to help me better control something that's often so untameable in my own strength.
James 3:4-5 And a tiny rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot wants it to go, even though the winds are strong. So also, the tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do.
"Remember that we are not fighting the tongue's fire in our own strength. The Holy Spirit will give us increasing power to monitor and control what we say, so that when we are offended, the Spirit will remind us of God's love, and we won't react in a hateful manner. When we are criticized, the Spirit will heal the hurt, and we won't lash out." (James 3:8 study note from the Life Application Bible)