With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. James 3, verses 9-10.
We are people of contrasts. James notices this and pounces on it as the question of the ages, and indeed it is. I go to church a lot; mostly regularly; usually every Sunday. Yet my wife is constantly (rightfully) ragging on me if I leave the parking lot and let some inappropriate comment or foul language fly. I just spent an hour (more when the pastor goes over time) praising and worshipping God, and I immediately foul it up with what I say. I’m the same me who sat in church and gladly sang, praised, lifted my hands, prayed, and all that you do at Sunday worship. I’m the same me who did all that and then gets mad at the guy who cuts me off on the street, or lets the off-color joke fly by, or passes judgment on what was said and done in the service.
Out of the same mouth. It’s nothing new. If you went to one of the small home gatherings that characterized ‘church’ in 1st century Judea, you’d see something similar. Folks would say one thing holy, then immediately besmirch that holiness with something unholy. Such behavior transcends time.
Here’s a good time to remember that we weren’t made for just one time: we were made for forever. God made you, me, and everyone we know to last forever, to be with Him forever. Eternity matters most and God – Father, Son, and Spirit – is in eternity, of eternity, and around eternity. He made us to commune with Him in eternity, to share His love forever. That’s why He sent His Son to do for us what we couldn’t do for ourselves: make our sinful lives into sinless forever.
That news, too, is nothing new. It’s older than James: just like our response to it. Me first. I know better. Did you see that new kid in school? What planet did she come from? “Guess what I heard about you know who over in the next department? Yep! Doing the boss again.” The single digit salute to the guy who whips into the parking space you’re waiting for. How have you responded in ways that a loving follower of Jesus shouldn’t respond? We could swap war stories on that but we’d miss the point. We aren’t made for the war stories. It’s not that we have to become prudes. Joy is the better path. We, people of contrast, are made to love Jesus forever. Let’s start in small ways today.
Patient Lord, teach me to tame my thoughts and words. Teach me to control them and to use them only in ways that glorify You.
How are you guilty of this double-speak?
What contrasts are your weak spots?
Have you asked Jesus to help you change them?