Reading through the Bible together

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

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James points out that just because there are teachers and leaders who are held in high esteem in a community, this does not mean that they are not held to a higher standard than the average person. Actually, their speech is judged with greater strictness than the speech of others. 

The tongue is so small and seemingly so harmless, but it can do a lot of damage if not controlled by Jesus. The tongue can build a person up, or tear him down.  A few words can ruin a relationship for life.  If we allow the devil to manipulate our words we can alienate individuals, churches and communities.  Wars have even been started over a few misplaced words.   

On the other hand men and women can do great things with a controlled tongue.  Kind words can be used to tame and train animals. Words can also promote healing and bring emotional and mental wellness to people. The tongue can be disgustingly evil, spreading its poison everywhere. Or it can be a power tool for good, inspiring and enabling people to be more like Jesus. It is strange, but words of encouragement and words of harassment can flow from the same mouth. Is it possible for both good and distasteful water to flow from the same spring?      

If we understand what James has been trying to tell us, then we will use positive speech and behavior, doing so with humility. These actions become a part of our life, for it is Jesus Christ living in us. Our actions shine like the sun because we have the SON living in us.  

Venting anger about or toward others is not endorsed by God.  On the contrary, it is a tool used by the devil to poison both those who speak and those who listen.  Such behavior is not consistent with a Christian who is to spread the “Good News” of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Confusion is the ultimate result of spreading hate, anger, and jealousy.   

Characteristics of heaven-bound people include wisdom, purity, gentleness, compassion, and patience. If we possess good attitudes and behaviors, free of partiality and hypocrisy, we will someday see Jesus. In that “great day” the harvest will consist of those who sow seeds of kindness, compassion, and peace. 

 

Robin Pratt 

Child and Family Studies 

Carolina Conference 

United States