Reading with my husband in the book of James, I thought how much our country needs to heed the words found there. James admonishes us to:
You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires
Wow! Sadly it appears we are slow to listen and quick to speak.
James had much to say about the tongue.
People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
Thinking about controlling my tongue, I realized this would also apply to the social media we use. While we are not using our voice when we post on Facebook, Word Press, Twitter, we are “speaking.”
I have been saddened to see so many doing just what James said was wrong – praising God – then cursing those made in the image of God. My initial response when I listen to others arguing over the virus, the election and all the craziness we have experienced in 2020 is to be critical and wonder why they cannot be reasonable.
Reading in James, I had to take a good look at myself. How many times have I seen a post on Facebook that upset me and just responded without even thinking about how it might effect others?
It really hit me hard when I read:
and If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.
While I cannot control what others do, I realize that I must work on controlling that urge to speak so quickly, to give my opinion, to “prove my point.” Thinking more about how I need to control my quick responses, I was reminded that Jesus said
“A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.”
A more modern take on that might be:
Garbage in – garbage out.
This makes me realize I need to make sure I control what is in my heart – and listening to all the negative news and arguments is not the way to do that. So I aim to do less listening to news, less scrolling through Facebook and listen to great music, read great books. Fill my heart with good stuff.
My prayer now is:
May the words of my mouth and the mediation of my heart be pleasing to you oh LORD, my rock and my redeemer.