Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Praise and cursing

With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.                                                                           Jas. 3.9,10

Herein lies the sad diversity of the human tongue. This one instrument can be the source of praise or cursing. How unfortunate is this? And, I wonder, to what extent this is due to lack of personal control or foresight.

James says this disparity should not be so. The same organ ought not to sing out the sweetest praises and also be capable of expressing the foulest curses. The Christian ethos is one of love and grace. I see praise fitting into this, but there is no place for cursing. However, what if there is cause for cursing? Even so, I think a way could be found to handle the situation with love and grace.

James compares the praising of God with the cursing of men, who have been made in God’s image. I acknowledge that being created in God’s image does not eliminate human waywardness. There may come to pass ungodly behaviour from human beings. Yet, I do not necessarily curse these people. I am reminded of the number of times I read of Jesus looking on people with compassion. This is the example for me. If I am able to adopt a compassionate outlook, at all times, I am much less likely to resort to cursing and the misuse of my tongue. I have an obligation before God to honour Him with my words, as also with my thoughts and deeds.

Lord, Holy God,
I desire to use my tongue to Your praise and glory in all things. I pray for a sense of compassion, such as Jesus had, that will lead me in what I think, say and do.         Amen.

Sunday, 25 February 2018

The tongue

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.                                    Jas. 3.5

James has talked of the bit in the horse’s mouth – a small object that controls the whole animal. He cites the rudder on a ship, again a very small thing that directs the mass of the largest vessel. So is the tongue in the human body. My tongue speaks for me, and of me, literally, morally, and spiritually. People gauge me by what I say. My tongue reveals me, it makes known who I am.

What I say is important. The smallest spark can generate a bush fire of lethal proportions. The human tongue has a similar capacity. I have the ability to cause great adversity and suffering by what I say.

Bush fires start from two major sources. The spark may be accidentally struck, or the fire can be deliberately lit. Either way, the result is devastating. This tells me I need to be ever alert to what I say. I may not deliberately set out to cause trouble. God forbid that I ever would. I need to guard against this. But I also need to be alert and watchful against any accidental comment or remark. This can be equally as injurious as a deliberate verbal assault.

Let me, then, think carefully before I speak. Let me be ever mindful of the power of words. Let me endeavor always to speak the right talk.

Lord God,
I do not wish my speech to be harmful in any way. May I always be motivated by Your Spirit in what I say. If I ever need to challenge or chastise, let me do so in the fullness of Your grace. Be Lord of my tongue, and Lord of all of me.                       Amen.

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