Taming the tongue

I’m not going to post my original blog meant for today. It sounds way too much like a lesson, and Fridays and scripture lessons don’t mix in my world. (slight chuckle) I was going to post James Chapter Three and do a verse by verse and remembered that my teaching days are over. At least in this season of my life. Instead, as the theme for the next few weeks was the topic of communication, I’ll stick with this “letter between friends” format I have eased into.

So, on this beautiful Friday morning that all too quickly will turn into a sauna for the next three days, with a dangerous heat index, I’m just going to say a few things, and maybe, if anyone is open to it, we can start a discussion in the comments. Which are open to anyone, but they are read before they are posted to avoid innuendos and insulting language.

The one thing I keep meditating on is from James 3:7-10 – “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

I keep going over in my mind how I talk to people. How my tone of voice, my facial expressions, my body language can scream out contrasting messages. As people, we can be restless, and restlessness can lead to us losing the self-control needed to keep our tongues from being poison. Sometimes it is a slower process, a misplaced word here or there, that over time builds into something painful for the other person. Sometimes it is an immediate, sharp word, an expression that can wound in dramatic ways.

And then I wonder why I’ve somehow forgotten that in the harsh words I might say, I am far from blessing the Lord, and far from showing love to a person whom God loves, a person made in His image.

And as I muddle through all the things I’ve said and done and have tried to determine just how far off I’ve been in pleasing the Lord, how right on target I’ve been in cursing those created in His image, I don’t want to believe I can sometimes fail so dramatically. But I can, any of us can.

Self-control is a fruit of the Spirit. God has given those who believe in Him, those who have accepted Him by faith and thus received the Holy Spirit as their counselor and teacher and comforter, He has given us a way to tame the tongue. It isn’t easy. It takes practice to lay down self and submit to God, over and over again, until you realize that the power the former self has had over you no longer exists. But there are moments of weakness when hurt, or fear, or anger, or weariness wraps around us, and we can slip and fall back into the ways of the past.

I want to communicate in God’s love. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be hard for others to hear sometimes. Because truth can be painful and must be prayed over, and shared in love, God’s love, and not tempered by our own tendencies to “make” things work out.

Communication, the kind God wants for us, can bring us great pleasure, can bring us the hurt that comes with self-realization, can bring us growth, can bring us to repentance, and a joy that only God can bring.

Communication is not just speaking words that others can understand. It is a way of life to support one another as we make our way through this chaos that we find ourselves living in. For myself, I want foremost to see people as God sees them, realize He created and loves each of us the same, and be ready to listen to the Lord’s leading long before I chose to speak. I can’t say I’m there yet. But I know that as I continue to seek His Will in my life, submit to Him and follow the instructions that He’s given us in the Holy Scriptures, that ache of failing to communicate in love will occur less often.

James is rich in all that it can teach us. Now, however, I have the rest of my Friday to get on with. So, I’m giving you a break from my rambling. Have a great weekend, my friends. God loves you. – Vicki

 

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