Holding the Tongue, 19 May
I love the emailed verse of the day, because it brings you snippets that could lead you to read whole chapters… James is a little book filled with wisdom… James is my father’s name…
The book of James scripture this morning reminded me of a conversation with my pre-teen son about swearing…
We discussed how often people swear in those YouTube videos that my son watches and also the words shared amongst his classmates – that people are swearing just to swear – just to think they’re cool – and I reminded him that it doesn’t mean it’s cool to swear and we even shouldn’t try to be cool anyway. We discussed that it’s not necessarily the words but the attitude when people are disgruntled, upset and want to lash out… Yes, we all all have times – I sure do – we can’t help but swear, be bitter, be upset, and release that outloud…. and he understands that… my prime example was when I left out 2 gallons of milk overnight on my brand new wooden bench. I hurled out a great swear word which gave me such relief!… I try so hard not to swear in front of my kids and only swear when I “need to”… oh this was a definite “need to” feeling… new bench was fine, but 2 gallons of milk wasted, $$$$…. Ugh… and he now uses this example as well, to understand when swearing is for stress relief not for hurting others. Holding one’s tongue takes practicing and patience…
This conversation came up again after I had a phone call from the assistant principal who said that somebody in school wrote really nasty words on one of the other classmate’s iPads. My son was being interviewed because he sat near this other child… Thankfully, the assistant principal was certain it was not my son, but he was doing his due diligence by interviewing everyone. Naturally, I was sure my son could not have been the culprit and the principal agreed…. so of course this led to another conversation with my son that evening about swearing, and about being mean to others…
All this ties to scripture as the conversations led to me having a blessed conversation with him about how Jesus tells us to live… admonishing each other with scripture and praising with song but holding our tongues from hate… Hate creates hate…. And scripture tells us about how we are to forgive those who wrong us – just like Jesus petitions the Father on our behalf to forgive us… We are to serve others like Jesus served, not to hate… We are to keep focused on God’s teachings and therefore help others see the beauty of God within us…
I try to teach and also to live by example to be a PEACEKEEPER…. to foster the skills of a peacemaker by reminding others to do the same… The end goal, as James points out, of taming the tongue means both knowing when not to use it AND when to use it…. for “the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.”
Being bold for God is instilled as a gift, to be grown and guarded… Boldness in the Lord comes best from a pure heart.
Praying always to keep my heart pure…
James 1 NIV
Listening and Doing
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23 Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25 But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.
26 Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 3 (NIV)
Taming the Tongue
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Two Kinds of Wisdom
13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.
PS… I love it when I get a song that matches what I’ve already written and I can just add it as God’s reinforcement on the message of the day. So a new to me song, beautifully sung, shows boldness in bright colors of flowers in this video to match the boldness of God’s greatness…
“Keep My Heart”