Friday, May 10, 2013

Taming the tongue... (James 5) (James 3:1-12, John 14:26)

"Words kindle fires..."
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

You might think I'm silly, but Prince Harry from England has come to visit the USA.  That's so great.  I've always thought the English are classy and respectable.  He plans to stop by the Jersey Shore.  How very nice : )  It should be fun to hear how it goes. We heard on the News that Governor Christie (NJ), has been tasked with keeping him out of trouble.  Although I have a hunch he's doing just fine.

This part of James is straight forward, with some strong words.  So brace yourself.

James 3:1-12

1 My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 
To me these verses are a warning to take our faith seriously.  It reminds me to study the Bible and learn what it means myself.  There's two ways to study: 

  1. By reading the Bible believing we already know everything, thus rolling our eyes across the page without any words truly sinking in.  Not sure, but I suspect God might be rolling His eyes too...  I've had days like that too (sigh).  We can also add our own opinions, or a leader's beliefs and use all this to make a point that seems interesting.  It's good to listen to other people's testimonies and ideas but the real source of faith comes from God Himself. 
  2. The second way is by praying each day before reading.  Before I write these posts I ask the Holy Spirit to speak to me through God's Word.  Including God in Bible Study is best, and leads to a relationship with Him.  Add in some prayers, praise, and maybe a hymn and you have a nice Quiet Time with God.  There's no rules it's entirely between you and God.  He knows we need to get to work or take care of little kids too, so I'm sure He's never disappointed.  
This is the verse describing what the Holy Spirit does:

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
John 14:26

Back to James.

3 Indeed, we put bits in horses' mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires. 5 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.  See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
Ouch!  This verse reminds me of gossip.  I've done my share of gossiping.  The sad thing is it always leaves me wondering what I was thinking of.  It's such a bad feeling to know I hurt someone.  

6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. 
That pretty much sums it up...  maybe I'll just be quiet for a minute...

9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. 
I don't always think about all of us being made in the image of God.  If God were standing in front of me in a grocery store line, I'd be very patient and kind to Him.  Not so much when I'm driving or impatiently waiting my turn in line with humans.  Maybe I need to realize God is with me everyday in my car, work, and play.

10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
It's much better to bless than to curse- but I have to admit sometimes I'm not very kind.  It's probably the ones we love the most, that get the worst sometimes.

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