Tuesday, December 16, 2014

In the Holiday Rush

     This is a busy time of year for all of us especially if we have family coming to join us for the holidays.  In our haste, we often times can say or do things which might not have a positive impact on another person.  For example, last year at this time, our family read through a list of text messages where autocorrect had totally changed the meaning of a text message sent in a hurry.  Obviously the person sending the message did not check it out before hitting send.  We laughed so hard at some of the examples because it has happened to most of us one time or another.  Then, on the other side of the coin are messages that are derogatory in nature which accidentally get sent to the person who is being criticized.  Not only is it embarrassing, but it is also very hurtful.  Whether done in haste or done out of carelessness, we can certainly find ourselves in a bind.
     In the Book of James, we read these words of wisdom (James 3:9-10):  "With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth come blessing and cursing.  My brothers, these things ought not be so."  This passage refers to the problem we all have with our tongues.  Long before Smart phones, texting and email, people communicated verbally, and not all their words are kind.  That is the problem with having a sin nature.  As James describes the tongue, he calls it a fire in verse six and refers to as a world of evil.  If this were not enough, the Apostle goes on to say that the tongue is set on fire by hell itself.  Those are strong words, but they ring true.  There are very few of us who have not let something fly out of our mouths at least once or twice that we wish we could have recaptured before it hit the ears of the person we were speaking to.  However, once spoken, words can not be taken back.
Our sweet granddaughter Everleigh and
her cute little tongue!
     Jesus also spoke to the issue of our mouth and the words we speak when He said this in Luke 6:45:  "The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."  Quite often, our mouth testifies against us to show us and others what is in our heart.  As believers in Christ, we should feel convicted when we let a careless word fly from our lips.  In fact, Jesus also told us in Matthew 12:36-37:  "36"But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. 37"For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
     When we stop and think about it, who has not made an unkind remark, a cutting comment, a sarcastic joke or some other verbal bomb that has left devastation in its wake?  This is how relationships and marriages are destroyed by the little things that are said which tear down one another.  However, there is a remedy for this.  Unlike smart phones that have the unpredictable autocorrect, Christians have the Holy Spirit living and dwelling within us.  He is able to guide and guard us in our speech with one another.  Our job is to listen to Him and ask for Him to give us the right words at the right time said in the right manner.  The Spirit can teach us what to say (Luke 12:12), but we must be willing to listen to Him and not respond to others out of anger or emotion.
     In those times when we do mess up and speak hurtful words, our remedy is to confess it to God and seek His forgiveness and then, ask forgiveness from the one we have offended.  For myself, I love the prayer of David in the Psalms when he wrote:  "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer."  If we strive to please and bless the Lord, we will not only guard our lips but we will also seek not to speak in haste.  Yes, autocorrect can be a shortcoming for the smart phone, but we need not walk in a careless manner when it comes to our tongues.  James reminds us again of how we should approach communication (James 1:19):  "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;..."  If we live this way, we have nothing to fear on the day of judgment. Selah!

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