A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! 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. This is scary. . .
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! My friends, this can’t go on. (James 3:5-7, 9-10)
I wonder how James would feel, if he visited our communities today, and saw that the exact issues that he admonished first century believers about were still firmly entrenched in 21st century Christians. It’s mortifying to realize that 2000 years later, many of us are still clinging tightly to unregenerate behavior and sin.
I went to church today in a serious state of disrepair. That happens a lot lately–the “disrepair” thing. On the way, I was praying, “Lord, I need a healing today.” I mean, I was desperate–at the end of my own meager resources, and wanting to just give up. But I am ornery enough to know if I contend for healing long enough, He honors my persistence. So there I was, whining all the way to church, but at least I was going.
His idea of “healing” was a nap all the way through the collection and most of the sermon. I’m not sure what that was about. I don’t remember ever doing that in services before. I’ve never been “slain in the Spirit” either. I think maybe it has something to do with trust.
After I woke up, and service was over, I went to get my packet of 2009 envelopes sitting at a lobby table, when He graced me with an insight. It was about speaking in new tongues… (Or maybe just my tongue speaking a new language . . .)
I ran into a woman who snarled at me…not verbally, but the look she gave me was definitely unfriendly. I let it go, took my box and turned to leave. As I moved away, I was suddenly aware that I had made a good choice–to heal instead of hurt. I was also aware that every interaction I have with someone will either heal or wound, depending on my choice.
In this situation, I understood that snarling back at someone would create a wound. But gratefully, respectfully, tenderly engaging folks would bring a blessing and healing for all of us.
That’s a deeper insight for me. I mean, I *know* that’s true from Scripture, but this was an “aha!” moment. I suddenly really understood that if I am serious about being His disciple, and going about the healing, blessing, restoring business, I need to bless, heal, and restore with every encounter I have. Healing and blessing is a conscious, deliberate choice, every day, everywhere, with everyone…
I think I really get it now! Father give me the grace I need to *be* it!
(I’m pretty sure I already have the grace…it’s the tapping into it that takes some choosing. Right, Pastor Jim?)
The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit. (Proverbs 15:4; 18:21)