“…My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:10)
The other day I was looking in my magnifying mirror, checking out how deep my wrinkles are getting and if my new anti-wrinkle cream was working, when I noticed something: I had a couple of pimples!! If I am old enough to have wrinkles, surely I should not have to have pimples, too!! That just doesn’t seem right! Now, being the spiritual person that I am (lol!), a Bible verse came to my mind:
“…these things ought not so to be!” (James 3:10).
Absolutely! These things out not to be so!! I shouldn’t have to suffer those marks of mature old age (wrinkles) and at the same time suffer those humiliating reminders of immature teenage skin (pimples)!
Then, I thought, well, I ought to look at that verse and see what it is really talking about, because I know that’s only part of the verse. And guess what!! It’s about the tongue! Oh my! No wonder I remembered THAT verse, because it’s one I have to remind myself about often:
“For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body…But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.” (James 3:2, 8-10)
“…these things ought not so to be!” is referring to mature Christian talk and immature worldy talk coming out of the same mouth. Like having pimples and wrinkles on the same face! James is telling us that it is hard to avoid offending people with our words, because we are all sinful and all lack maturity and self-control in some areas, especially our tongue. But he rebukes his audience by saying that we should not speak maturely and immaturely out of the same mouth! “These things ought not so to be”!
After spending some time talking with another, we may think to ourselves: Most of what I said was true, most of it was helpful, most of it was important, most of it was necessary, most of it was kind. Only a little of what I said was gossipy, exaggerated, mean-spirited, hurtful, unnecessary, prideful, and self-exalting.
James goes on to use the example of a bit in a horses mouth, the rudder of a ship, and a match that starts a fire – meaning that a “small thing” like the tongue can cause BIG damage!
He then states that out of the same mouth we pray and sing praises to God, and then we use it to “curse” or speak badly to or about other people who are made in the image of God, as we are, whether saved or unsaved.
I don’t know about you, but I really don’t wish to offend people, I know sometimes I do, without realizing it with what I say, or how I say it. So, how do we become this “perfect” man (think ‘mature Christian‘) who doesn’t offend people with their words?
So, he told us it involves wisdom, which, he affirms at the beginning of his letter, we can have if we just humbly ask God for it in faith:
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.” (James 1:5,6)
Then he explains what this wisdom looks like:
“Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James 3:17,18)
That sounds good, doesn’t it? So wisdom is shown by:
Good conversation, Meekness, Pure, Peacable, Gentle, Easy to be intreated, Full of mercy and good fruits, Without partiality or hypocrisy, Righteous. That sounds a lot like the fruit of the spirit in Galatians 5:22,23.
So the answer to our problem is wisdom. How to deal with wrinkles and pimples? Wisdom – knowing that God is in control and that He wants me to have those natural signs of getting older and mature (wrinkles), but still remind me (with pimples) that I am immature in some areas, and He’s not done with me yet!
And, how to avoid both good, mature Christian talk and sinful, immature worldy talk coming out of the same mouth? Wisdom—asking God to help me control my tongue, fearing the Lord (Psalm111:10, Proverbs 9:10), yielding to the Holy Spirit so His fruit is manifested in and through me, and just LOVING GOD and LOVING OTHERS. Let’s be a good influence on others by using our tongue, a small member, to “…be always with grace, seasoned with salt…”(Colossians 4:6).
Well, I’m feeling convicted, are you??
~ Graced and Grateful Grammy
A bit, a rudder, a match, and our tongue are all small things with BIG influence.
The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body, use yours to lift someone up today.