Friday, April 6, 2012
This week’s study in James speaks of the ever scary tongue. We had unanimous agreement that no one really wanted to discuss that subject. But our fearless leader insisted that we do, and she had us do a communal verbalization of question 19 in spite of our protests. J So, table by table we presented our thoughts on “How do we evidence true faith in these three areas: Bridled Tongue – Love for others – Holiness or purity?”
As our table was third in line, I had a little time to speculate on what a great outline this would be for a subject if I were speaking to a group of women. It pretty well outlines some of the serious changes that needed to be made in order to live a life that could be seen as belonging to Christ. My tongue had been an instrument of torture for many years and taming it would take some serious time and effort. However, God in His Grace gave me Love to replace the hate and bitterness and that Love nudged me into Peace for the first time in my life, and with Peace came something close to gentleness that helped me “keep the lid on it” if not just plain refusal to be offended by each and everything that came along.
But, as I consider the subject of the unbridled tongue, I am now prone to think on a broader scale. What do we say on a daily basis about or to our spouses, friends, family, co-workers or fellow church members that our children hear and learn from? And what do they learn from our speech? Mean spiritedness? Judgment? Critical sarcasm? Bald faced lies? Gossiping? Hate speech? Excuses? Curses and swearing? How about just gentle, unkind words spoken behind a person’s back?
So why did I ask that, you may wonder? Because last night in our study of Matthew (chapter 18) we came across this: Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him… (to die, than to continue living.) Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! NKJV
And one of the aspects of this whole declaration is that it is not only our children and the children of others, but also the children of God of whom He is speaking. We necessarily come to Him as humble children and we are to treat others with the same serious consideration we give to children.
It seems it is not just the angry person who is spoken of here, even though the Christian speaking may very well be angry at the time. It is all of us and it is all that we say. I would say that the unbridled tongue could be any careless use of our speech; any snotty, haughty, whiny, agitated remark that we might make. I, myself, am terribly guilty of this type of speaking. I wish I were not.
As representatives of Christ, we have an obligation to be careful; to be careful what we see, to be careful what we hear, and to be careful what we do, and to be very careful what we say. And what we see, hear, and do will definitely affect what comes out our mouths.
May we all be more sensitive to what we say remembering that God is always listening and that the “walls have ears.” Anyone could overhear and be crushed by our words. Father, let us pay attention and fill our hearts with good words and then use them readily.
And may we also be more sensitive to speaking about You where we can be overheard. Let us praise You loudly and often for the sake of those who might overhear.