Sunday, November 09, 2014

This week's lesson (November

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 person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.  
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. -- James 3:5-8, NIV
It seems ironic.
When James warns us not to misuse language, after all, we expect him to set a good example -- to use words that are gentle, meek, and mild.
Instead, we get some of the most violent language in his letter. 
  • I mean, there's nothing gentle about saying, "The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body."
  • There's nothing meek about saying, "[The tongue] corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."
  • And "mild" is not the word to describe someone who writes that "no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison."
Yes, James can be blunt: blunt as a stop-sign, and pointed as the Old Testament prophets.

That's because James knows soft-word aren't always a blessing -- not when they enable injustice.

That's because James knows silence isn't always golden -- not when it empowers sin.

That's because James is not being ironic in these verses. No, he knows there are times when the kindest, nicest, most loving thing we can say to someone . . .

It may be something they don't want to hear.

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