James: Handling the Hard Stuff of Life
Foot in mouth disease used to be the least amount of our troubles with our mouths. Our brains are thinking of a way to truly compliment someone, but a signal breaks down and foolish words fall out of our mouths instead. We joke about it. We try to fix it with more words that only make it worse. And it doesn’t. Has this ever happened to you? Or is it just me. Somehow, I don’t think so because many people have done the same to me. We all laugh it off and move on.
These days there is a more serious disease. Worldview thinking has taught us to say whatever is on our mind no matter who it might hurt for we have become more important somehow than anyone else. The world shouts; “Have it your way”, “Stand up for yourself”, “You have rights, tell them”, “If you want it, go get it, whatever it costs”, No one is more important that you”, “Let’s get it all out in the open so you will feel better”, “You deserve it all, so tell them”, “You need to tell them what they are doing wrong” and so on it goes. Do you see a theme? The disease is self. For some reason we think we are doing the world a favor by giving our opinion whether solicited or not.
THINK has lost it’s punch, it seems, and relegated to yet another cute phrase on social media. Maybe we need to go over this again to it’s meaning. THINK stands for a series of questions that serves as a filter of what flows from our hearts, through our brains and then falls from our lips. Is what I’m about to say Truthful, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary and Kind? ALL of these must work together. Don’t leave even one out of the equation! If we can answer YES to all then what we say will be more likely to produce fruits of the Spirit that God will honor and make Him smile. We might add, is what I about to say going to honor this person and make them feel more of worth. Or will this suck the life from them and crush their spirit. Let’s vote for life!
I’m pretty sure this is similar to what James is trying to tell us…
James 3, The Message
1-2 Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.
3-5 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!
5-6 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.
7-10 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
10-12 My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?
Dear Heavenly Father, We repent of all the words that were unnecessarily spilled from our mouths. Renew a right Spirit in us. Help us to filter what comes from our brains. Transform our hearts to be pure and selfless. Help us to slow down and truly THINK before we speak. May our words be healing, giving worth to others. May our words be loving and kind. Save us from self. May our focus be on You, looking into Your eyes and seeing others in the reflection. In Jesus Name, Amen