"… If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.” (James 3:2 NIV)
Herod did not guard his tongue. He hosted a party - and apparently without any forethought, perhaps to impress his guests, he promised Herod's daughter, who had danced at the party, that she would get everything she asked him for even if it was half his kingdom.
What he had not counted on was that she would ask him to kill John the Baptist. The scripture says that the king was downcast and miserable by the request, but ‘for the sake of his honor and due the onlookers, his guests’, he didn’t refuse her demand.
The consequence of Herod's words was that he was forced to kill John, a man who it says explicitly that he had respect for, and which he knew was a righteous and holy man, a man whom he had previously been protecting, a man whose message had touched him so deeply that he wanted to hear more from him (Mark 6:20)
Words come so easily across our lips, but they can have far reaching implications for our lives. James says, in referencing the tongue, it's like a small flame that ignites a vast forest. One reckless little word can bring us or others into serious difficulties. Let us ask God to put a guard on our mouths, so that we only say that which is good.
Lord place a guard on my mouth today, so that my words will be of help and not detrimental to either myself or someone else.