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Word Of The Week

From: The Household of Faith

A light came on for me this weekend.I truly wish I can tell you, “that happens all the time,“ but sadly it doesn’t, despite my best efforts.However, when God has a word for you, you get it whether you want it or not, whether you ask for it or not, whether you feel you deserve it or not.Then it is like a light turned on in a dark room.You see things you never saw before, whether you want to or not.


Like many Christians I have been raised in the word since birth.I have heard almost every possible theme for a sermon at least twice, memorized bible stories, learned and forgotten verses that I know, not enough to quote to the saints, but enough to say “Amen” with understanding when they quote them to me. At times I forget God has more to teach me and then the light comes on.


This time it was the Sunday School lesson, James 3:1-13, titled Wise Speakers.Now I know that a single spark from your tongue can spark a great fire.I know that you can ruins lives with your mere choice of words.But the Sunday School teacher ask our class a question to the effect of, “have you felt like letting your tongue go this past week?”There was silence and he was the only person to raise his hand.


My Sunday School teacher is not the kind of the person who is likely to loose his temper.When he us bothered by something is more likely tosay “Lord, my Father,” and shake his head than rant and fuss.I thought if this man wanted to loose it this week, surely I did too.

I thought about my answer for most of the rest of Sunday School, struggling to find fault in myself. I couldn’t, not by myself.God had to turn on the light to make me understand.It is always easy to remember when people speak out of turn to you.When you, or rather I, do it to others it’s because they had it coming, they deserved it.

Then God helped me to see the number of times I thought that being right made me righteous.But God doesn’t take sides.We do.We can choose to follow him or act on our own.When it is more convenient to act on our own and we can’t fall back on the word of God we often then say we are right, usually just because we want to be right or feel that someone else is wrong.Then we, or I rationalize, “If I am opposite of them and they are wrong, then what I am doing must be right.”“Wrong!!!,” said God.“Keep up you will really be dead wrong”

One of the biggest stereotypes people have of Christians is that we are self righteous people.I suddenly understood where that came from.Me and others’ rationalization and readiness to claim it as righteousness, even when it doesn’t measure up to James teachings.That lesson was for us, the teachers, meaning people should learn about the love of Christ from us.Often what they learn is that we are quick tempered and strong tongued.Who can be drawn to that?

In James 3:13 there are seven criteria that help us measure whether our tongues reflect the glory of God.The last time I was certain I was right, I know my words failed most of that criteria.There in the middle of Sunday School, if front of everyone the light was turned on me.I felt like my faults were on display even though I never said a word of it to any one.God flipped the switch and showed m my mess.There is no mistaking the way things are.The only way to make it better is to clean up.