Friday, April 15, 2011

Your Words Begin in the Heart

Like a dog on a broken leash, sometimes some things get away from us. I seemed to have dropped the ball on my twitter Bible Study so I have made it a point to finish what I started. In the process, I have seen a passage from a fresh perspective. It comes from James 4:11-12 which says:

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?

This passage immediately brought three things to mind. First, it connected me to a series I have been developing over the past few weeks on the subject of conflict. I have been focusing on Scripture that deals with Biblical conflicts. The Bible has plenty of examples of conflict and how to deal with situations that we sometimes find ourselves in. Some conflict arises from our selfish and prideful attitudes. If we focus in the book of James a few verses before the passage quoted above, we find an intense push to rid ourselves of pride and selfishness.

God's desire is for us to focus, first and foremost, on Him. Too often our desire is to spotlight ourselves and undercut anyone who may attract that spotlight. That is a true example of pride and selfishness and usually leads to conflict. Our pride leads us to talk about others and say things that may hurt or harm. It is amazing how many times I see this happen on Facebook. [side note: be careful what you put on the Internet, it is like a good history book, it will never go away, no matter how hard you try]

Second, this passage connected me to Ephesians 4:29 which says:

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Uplift others is the focal point of that verse. Don't put them down. This is true not only for the person's benefit, but also for others who may hear you. If someone knows you are a Christian and all they hear you do is bash others, then what do they think of Christ? Our words toward others may lead a hearer to see the love of Christ, so be careful.

Not only does James and Paul focus on how we treat others but we can also find parallel passages from the Apostle Peter as well. This seems to be a recurring theme in Scripture. Things that are recurring in Scripture must be focused on in great detail.

Finally, James' comments falls directly in line with Jesus' words to Love the Lord God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love your neighbor as yourself. If we don't love our neighbor as ourselves then we are disobedient and illustrate that we do not love God with all that we are. You see if God is our center focus, then loving others will also become a priority. As James says, we are not the Judge, God is. Only He can save AND destroy.

Watch what you say, as it says a lot about you!

In Christ,
Doug Johnson
www.dougjohnson.net