James chapter 3 is such a powerful chapter. Today we are looking at verse 10 in particular but the whole chapter is so incredibly convicting; I hope you will spend some time with it. Let’s look at verse 10:
“And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” James 3:10 (NLT)
We are continuing our exploration of the spiritual discipline of service today and this verse was used by Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline to highlight that we serve each other by how we use our words. Our words should be used to encourage and honor each other. Sadly, the opposite is often true.
Before reading Celebration of Discipline I honestly hadn’t thought of my words as being part of the discipline of service, but it makes sense. Our words are so incredibly powerful – they can speak life, love, hope, and peace but they can also speak death, hate, despair, and chaos. The choice is ours.
Our words can also serve as protection for the reputation of others. When we choose to use words that are positive about someone or at the very least refrain from using words that degrade and disparage, we serve them. But so much more importantly than that, we serve Jesus.
I was thinking this past week about how important our unity as Jesus’ church is to Him. John 17 records His prayer on the night that He was arrested before being crucified, and one of the things He prayed for you and me is that we would be ONE, unified. The church is not a building, it’s you and me and our unity matters. One of the biggest outward signs of our unity is the words we use, the way we speak to and about each other. Even when we disagree. Especially when we disagree.
I hope you will join me in taking an inventory of the words we use this week. I’m asking myself: Are they kind? Are they true? Are they necessary or helpful? If not, might be best if I just keep it to myself.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach