Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. James 3:1-2
This passage was read on the first day of Christian Education, Homiletics, and Theology. Although, to be more accurate, verse 1 was read and then we were told to think long and hard before we dared to teach anyone else. . .
James gives a sobering admonition. “Judged with greater strictness” means that we will reap the consequences of the words we say. There is no such thing as “I will just get this off my chest and they will have to get over it” or “but they know I really didn’t mean it”
For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. . I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matthew 12:34-37
But James is quick to remind us that none of us is perfect in what he says. We can’t use the excuse of “I’m not perfect” to be lazy or remain ignorant about spiritual things.
In this age of social media and instant “publicity” it is so easy to let pride and self-importance overtake our speech. “Say what you’re gonna say and let the chips fall where they may” is not an option for one who is a genuine Christ-follower.
There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18
ouch! In my home, with my husband, with my children, with my neighbors, with inconsiderate drivers and less-than-efficient sales staff or food service workers. . .
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17
that comment on a blog post or Facebook page; that text message or email sent; that “venting” to your friend about someone else. . .
Are they “sword thrusts” or do they bring healing? Could you sign Jesus’ name to those words?
How gracious is God to offer “cleansing from every sin” (1 John 1:7)– even when we sin with our words.
Thank you, God, for Your Word. Help me to bridle my tongue and use my words to bring healing and minister grace.