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Monday, November 19, 2012

Be Careful, That Thing's Sharp!

To be quiet.... ARGH!  It's one of the hardest things to do.  It's hard to listen to people getting it wrong, mischaracterizing you or even out and out lying. I wonder how Jesus did it.  Knowing he held the keys to the kingdom of heaven, how did he bear the slander and lies without putting on a lightning show the world would never forget and saying, "Do you get it NOW?"

I know I'd do that. I remember a few years ago someone was driving me crazy. He was looking for a fight. Well, not really a fight, as that would involve talking to me about the misunderstanding.  He wanted to talk to other people about it. I wanted to defend myself. I wanted to set it straight in a bitter manner and demand "Do you get it NOW?" I kept it no secret. I ranted and whined and practiced what I wanted to say until I'm sure my husband wanted a good piece of duct tape to stop the madness.

But from God I was hearing things like, "God is my champion, my defender, my deliverer, my help, my biographer. God knows the truth and sometimes that has to be enough." It was terrible in its wonderfulness.  I didn't know if I were spiritually mature enough to make it through this with dignity.

Sometimes a tongue is best used at rest. Otherwise it behaves like this:

James 3:9-12 "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. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water."

My tongue is the hardest thing for me to control and keep still. When I studied James last year, these verses were sort of like those you read past to get to something really meant for you. Today, it's importance astounds me.  'Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?' had to have been born from these verses.

I'm called to do good works that glorify God.  We're all called to bear that fruit. When I talk about God, I want to be believed. I wouldn't lie about God. I wouldn't insult you then try to talk to you about God - or would I?

Do you believe every news story from Fox News, MSNBC, or CNN? Why not? Yellow journalism isn't an oddity - it's the norm. Ever watch a report where they backpedal on everything they told you an hour earlier, because they jumped the gun? Or watch an anchor talk about someone's marital infidelity or divorce as though it's important for you to know? It isn't. It's trash and gossip, which used to be an embarrassing habit.

I was burned on a story about Taiwan a few years ago, and I'll never again share a big news story without doing a little research of my own first. Until it has a second source, I still consider it a rumor. News outlets have allowed their reputation to undermine their fundamental purpose.  To know what is newsworthy and to tell it truthfully.

Romans 1:18 "For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth."

I thought this meant to purposefully cover up the truth; doesn't it sound that way? Not allow Bible ownership, or religious worship.  Persecute those that convert to Christianity or participate in Bible study. Or, in our free country - forbid kids to wear Jesus T-shirts, start a battle against wishing people Merry Christmas, or change Christmas to "Sparkle Season."

But this week, it was brought home to me that these verses have everything to do with one another for ME. My unrighteousness suppresses the truth when I destroy the reputation of my tongue. If I've used it to gossip, humiliate, judge, or return hurtful remarks in an argument -  I've revealed a heart of cruelty, not compassion. Compassion is to have sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. Who would glorify God in response to my tongue telling a sweet testimony of God's work, after it's spewed so much bitterness? Who would believe me?

Just as Fox News & MSNBC reveal their true character with the stories they cover, my tongue reveals the true condition of my heart with the things I allow it to say. Even the things I only desire to say are powerful warning lights on my spiritual dashboard. My tongue tells me so much more than it tells anyone else. Perhaps I shouldn't get so upset when I realize someone isn't listening to what I'm saying, if I'm not willing to listen to myself.

Oh, this growing thing is hard........


  1. I battle keeping my mouth shut and my fangs tucked away. I may be truthful, but even the truth can hurt.

    1. I thought I'd commented on this comment. I thought I'd said, "A source of much wisdom advised me to apologize for my approach, but not for the truth. So much truth in, 'It isn't what you say but how you say it.'"