“…But no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil full of deadly poison.” James 3:8
Ouch. I know this to be true. One minute positive words come out of this mouth, the next minute a complaint, criticism or a curse. My very words condemn me. I commiserate with Isaiah when he cries, “Woe to me! I am ruined for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” Isaiah 6:5. Between God and me, I am the only one surprised by the inclinations of my heart. Thanks to Jesus, my guilt is erased and I am restored. I think of the line of the song, “fall down six times, get up seven.”
Friends of mine just went to a marketing seminar where they were advised to tap into the human desire to think of oneself as superior. That couldn’t be farther from James’s advice to embrace humility and provide no safe harbor for “bitter envy and selfish ambition” within my heart. These are words to dwell on before I take my seat at the Thanksgiving table with parents, siblings, in-laws and outlaws. It’s amazing how quickly adults can revert to old childish ways when back in the family fold.
So along with preparing the traditional dishes, this upcoming week, I’ll focus on cultivating a heart of gratitude as well as commit these words of James to memory:
But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. James 3:17-18.
When I fall short, I’ll quickly breathe that prayer of repentance:
Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner. Amen