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CHURCH CORNER: Let our words be a blessing to the community
I wish that when we received Christ as our personal savior we immediately took on his character and characteristics. Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works. Instead, we give our heart to the Christ and instantly we receive forgiveness of our sins but our nature doesn’t change. We then get to work on surrendering our sin nature for the rest of our lives.
I’m not complaining, it’s a fabulous trade-off. I just wish it were easier to let go of that nasty sin nature. I’m thankful for the Bible because it helps me as I wrestle against my sinful desires to know what pleases God and what causes him to cringe, so to speak.
As I look at how the church is perceived by people inside and outside the church, I often have great concern that our actions don’t match our message. It also concerns me when we cover our sinful actions with religious rhetoric. One of the areas of concern I have is in the way we speak to and about others – both in speaking assumed truths as well as spreading flat out rumors about another person.
Often, we use “Christianese” to cover our spreading of rumors by asking for prayer for someone and their situation or by feeling righteous about spreading the sin of another as if we are doing God a favor.
While studying for a Sunday message, I was reminded of some great verses. James 1:26, “If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless.” The Bible goes on to say in James 3:2 “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.”
These two verses point out the struggle humanity has with controlling what we say. We see in James 1:26 that it is important to control our tongues because it can deceive our hearts and then our religion becomes useless. How true is that, how quickly can we destroy our reputation and more importantly God’s reputation by what comes out of our mouth. In James 3:2 the writer makes the statement that if you can control your tongue and what you say then you are a perfect man. This needs to be a warning to all of us as we live out our lives that we need to pay special attention to what comes out of our mouths.
The old saying, “Sticks and stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me,” isn’t true. We see in today’s world of nonstop media that words have a drastic effect on people. In schools they are attempting to deal with this by cracking down on bullying, both physical and cyber (using social media to taunt and harass classmates). They also have brought in Rachel’s Challenge to help encourage the young people of our community to speak and treat each other with kindness. I think we all know that this is more than just a youth problem.
The book of James chapter 3 goes on to say that both blessings and cursing come out of the same mouth and that it should not be so. Church, my prayer for us is that we are a blessing to this community by the words that come from our mouth and not a curse. I would ask that you take some time to think about the words you say and the effect they have on others and on our savior.
By Marcus Kelly
New Life Foursquare Church