Dempsey and Frances Boyd, who are from my hometown of Clayton, have been friends of our family for years. One of their grandchildren, Chris Cooper, sent in the following message. Chris runs the Boyd Brothers Transportation Co. operations in Birmingham and does an outstanding job.
Our Sunday school class has recently spent a bit of time in the Book of James. James was written by Jesus’ brother, not James the apostle, and it has great messages of how truly genuine faith will inevitably produce good deeds. This is the basic central theme of James’ letter, but James also provides great practical advice on living a Christian life.
Chapter 3 has a great applicable message about how our speech affects others. Specifically, James teaches how our “tongues” are instruments of great influence on other people around us. James goes further into detail about our tongues and makes the statement in verse 6 that ”It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire and is itself set on fire by hell.” This is a theme that is repeated throughout Scripture. For Example, in Psalms 39:1, David prayed, “I will guard my ways so that I may not sin with my tongue.” Solomon warned, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Jesus also reminded us of the significance of our words when He said, “For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:37). Likewise, we have probably all heard of some variation of what James says in James 1:19 when he wrote, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
Some people interpret the verses written in James to be intended for the use of teachers only; however, because this theme is reverberated multiple times throughout Scripture I believe ALL of us, as Christians, have a duty to be “better” examples to those we influence. We need to have positive contact with individuals rather than untamed, hypocritical conversations. So what are some examples of an “untamed” tongue? Some examples would be gossiping, putting others down, bragging, manipulating, false teaching, exaggerating, complaining, flattering and lying to name just a few.
How do we do this? How do we fight this “fire” of the tongue and avoid the double talk of praising our Lord and Father on Sunday and going the rest of the week without a thought to our speech? How do we “tame” our tongues? We must saturate our minds with Godly wisdom from the Bible and immerse ourselves in a healthy prayer life. Families and churches (and our country) today need believers whose speech is informed and influenced by God’s word and wisdom. We must use our words to heal instead of harm, to encourage rather than tear down, and to unite instead of divide. Ultimately this will promote the peace James desires for us.
December 10, 2009
Our Nation Can Be Healed
The American people have an opportunity to heal our nation and the way it can be done is set out in the Bible. This instruction is one that we can no longer afford to ignore or put off.
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
2 Chronicles 7:14
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