Read My Lips
James 3:8, “but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
Any sentence or phrase that begins with “but” indicates that something very important was relayed before the “but” was inserted. Let’s look at the important information relayed prior to this warning and how James started out this chapter on the tongue:
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers; because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” James 3:1-2
Christ’s brother James wrote this letter long ago, but its words are intended for all Christians and is relevant now. He specifically addresses bible teachers in these first few verses. When we are called to teach, God judges us by stricter guidelines. The reason God judges His teachers more closely is because He called us for the purpose of relaying His message. We will stumble many times in many ways. Unless we claim to be perfect.
But, Jesus Christ is the only perfect One. Jesus Christ is the only human being that is able to claim that He always said the right thing at the right time in the right way. His lifestyle, including actions and behaviors, always matched what He taught.
There are groups that teach we should never speak angrily or boldly to anyone but we should put love into practice by always saying nice things. As believers (most especially teachers!), we need to stand up, speak up or shut up depending on the situation. Going back to Jesus Christ being the only perfect individual, I like to use His life as my example:
Matthew 23:33 - “You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?”
Sounds to me like Jesus took a stand. What do you think?
Matthew 26:63 - “But Jesus remained silent. The high priest said to him, ‘I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God.’”
Sounds like Jesus chose silence over a debate. What do you think?
John 8:11 - Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”
Sounds like Jesus spoke up but in a non-condemning way. What do you think?
Confused? Read 2 Timothy 4:2, Titus 1:13, and Titus 2:15 for some biblical insight.
At times, silence is merely a mask for indifference or may be an indication of insecurity. Those are my words; not His.