James #11. August, 2019
We have blamed it on our genetics, even said we were hormonal~
we have credited our quick wits~
we have said it was because we were overtired and had no filter~
a little impetuous, maybe a lot impulsive . . . the reasons we give for things we should not have said,
the feeble excuses we then make.
In the first half of James 3, our beloved friend passionately describes the destructive power of our tongue and the damage that can be done to others by our unguarded words. "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be."1 Interestingly enough, James never puts the onus where it belongs . . . our hearts. But Jesus did -- out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.2
Take note . . .The parameters for our 'talk' (and taming our tongues) have changed dramatically with the invention of the telephone, thousands of years after first-century James. Then came the cellular phone in which we first talked, and now we text message, sometimes by rapidly speaking our words into our phone and pressing 'send'. Stop for a moment and think how crazy all of that is! ('text message' has become a verb, for crying out loud)
For communication, the advent of the text message is good news/bad news. YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE: Text messages, (instant messenger and Snapchat), are fired off like lightning, sometimes in the cover of night with only a passing regard for their consequence. Relationships evolve at warp speed and often go off the rails because of the microwave-like communication. On the other hand, the good news is that we have a moment to look to see what we have just communicated - is it what we mean? Are the words we have put in that text message truly what we want to convey? Is it how we want to represent ourselves?
What does our text messaging say about our hearts?? One word - yikes.
Can think of no better course of action than to pray.
Dear Lord Jesus,
You know our hearts, and just as you placed hearts in our chests to pump blood, and through that blood, life to our bodies, you also created our spiritual hearts to be a certain way.
When you created Adam and Eve, you did so in your image, complete with your heart! Your heart pumps with joy, as I think of how you delight in your children. Your heart is filled with compassion . . . how you were moved by the hungry, moved by the lost, and so moved by the one, you left the 99!3 Your heart is merciful, filled with tenderness and given over to generosity.
Yes, it was an unadulterated heart that you placed within the breast of Adam and then Eve, and that is the heart that you want us to have, Lord-untarnished by the world, unaffected. Those first two hearts were open to you, ready to receive from you-- humble, teachable and communicative as you came to the Garden of Eden to talk to them and walk with them in the cool of the day.4 Oh, how I wish I could have been there! It reminds me that we were indeed created for you.
Now Lord, about the heart - I know the damage done to my physical heart by things like cigarette smoke, fatty foods, excess weight and hereditary factors...but how about the heart you had in mind when you formed me in my mother's womb? How about my spiritual heart and mind? What affects that?
'One thing, Child. Corruption. Sin. Let me take you back to the beginning - when 'the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths...' 'How it hurt my heart, Child, when I came down to walk and talk with Adam and Eve, and they hid from me because of their sin.'5
Guilty of the same, Lord. I go my own way - I sin. I overlook the consequences of things said - I sin... I think too much of myself, and think of myself too much . . . on it goes. Please forgive me; purify my heart, O Lord. On this matter of speech, remind me to think before I speak, remind me to look again at a text message to be sure my words are truthful, kind and helpful or not sent. Never thought about it before, Lord, but it seems you connected my thumb directly to my heart. How about that. Help me to be wise, Lord. AMEN
1 - Luke 6.45 2 - James 3.9-10 3 - Luke 15 4 - Genesis 3.8 5 - more from Genesis 3