Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Holding Our Tongue and Our Key Strokes

James 3:6

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

img_0063-2I have preached a number of sermons over the years on the danger of the tongue. I’ve also heard a number of sermons on gossip – on slander – and on idle conversations. I’ve heard teachings on being positive and not negative with our words. I’ve heard sermons on how words can hurt and how we should consider what we say before we say it. The old saying is so true – put your brain in gear before putting your tongue into action.

We’ve probably all heard this old saying – sticks and stones can break my bones but words will never harm me – yet words do hurt and can cause lasting pain. Verbal abuse is real abuse! Just because the bruises are not visually evident (at times) from verbal abuse doesn’t mean there hasn’t been real injury and real pain.

We should all think before we speak. Another saying about the tongue I’ve read – credited to Abraham Lincoln – goes like this – Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt. Another quote I posted yesterday is credited to Willie Nelson – and it goes like this – Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.

Here’s today’s passage in partial context. James 3:1–12 – 1 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check. 3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 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. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. We need to be careful what we say dear readers.

I often wonder if social media is the modern tongue? Are all of the passages and sayings about the tongue accurate for social media posts as well? It seems to me that people will say/type anything and post it – often without thinking how it might hurt others or impact their witness – if they are Christians. Most recently – we continue to be bombarded by tweets and posts on social media formats by our POTUS and other politicians (and denominationally too by well meaning persons). I’ve read some things posted by fellow clergy I never thought I would read – even things by our denominational leaders. I’ve posted some thoughts myself that others were upset with – even hurt by. I’ve tried hard to resist posting anything political. I haven’t always succeeded in staying away from politics. I realize that the congregation I serve is diverse and my circle of friends is diverse as well – and taking a stand – politically or theologically – can have certain fall-out for sure. But – to say nothing – remaining silent – isn’t the best choice either.

Reading the posts from people on the left and the people on the right – politically or theologically – is hard at times. Some simply seem to post things to get a reaction (some people say things for the same reason). Reading social media – at times – reminds me that some people try to tear down someone else in order to look better rather than being the best they can be and reflect positivity. Please dear readers – let’s not post the negative – let’s think before we post – and consider the example we are setting for those who follow us on social media. What would Jesus do (WWJD) – should be something we consider for sure. Would Jesus post on social media? And if He would or did – would He post some of the things we’ve been posting or reading – especially the negative things? Maybe Jesus wouldn’t be on social media at all. What do you think dear readers?

Just something for us to think about today as we go on our way.

January 14, 2020 - Posted by | Build, Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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