Stress typically brings out the worst in most people. Most of us become very task-oriented when under stress. On a typical day, I am a people person. However, when I am under stress, my mission becomes more important than those around me. It isn’t something I am particularly proud of, but I know that I’m not alone. Our words often get us into trouble.
The Lord led me to James 3 today. I’ve read this chapter many times over the years. I’ve taught this chapter many times over the years. I’ve had it quoted to me many times over the years. I am not naïve enough to think everyone in the world likes me. I am outspoken. I am opinionated. I am blunt. I’ve also been called, “brave,” “authentic,” and “true to myself.” I guess it just depends on whether someone likes my style. Still, James 3 applies to all of us; even me.
As I went back over the words in James 3 this morning, the Lord shone a new light on the words. James is admitting that all of us say things we shouldn’t say. He isn’t browbeating anyone because they say the wrong thing. He is merely teaching that those of us in teaching positions will be judged more harshly for what we say. We will be held accountable by God and we must accept that others may disagree with us. It’s all part of the teaching, speaking, and preaching package.
I am willing to accept the consequences while, like James, acknowledging I do not always get it right. None of us, teachers included, are perfect. People have the freedom to like or to dislike what we say. We are all held accountable before God for our words and actions. When God uses us as His mouthpiece, He is watching very closely. Do you accept the challenge? If so, speak. If not, remain silent.
James isn’t saying keep your mouth shut. He is saying to work at keeping personal feelings under control while learning to remain under God’s control. Pray and think before speaking. And, posting. <wink>
Mending fences is a necessary part of life. However, both sides of the fence must be repaired. Otherwise, broken fences ruin the landscape of the Christian community. I can’t make anyone mend their side of the communication fence. I am only responsible for my side.
“Let mutual love continue.” Hebrews 13:1