Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, because you know that we will be judged more strictly. 2 For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well. 3 And if we put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us, then we guide their entire bodies. 4 Look at ships too: Though they are so large and driven by harsh winds, they are steered by a tiny rudder wherever the pilot’s inclination directs. 5 So too the tongue is a small part of the body, yet it has great pretensions. Think how small a flame sets a huge forest ablaze. 6 And the tongue is a fire! The tongue represents the world of wrongdoing among the parts of our bodies. It pollutes the entire body and sets fire to the course of human existence—and is set on fire by hell. 7 For every kind of animal, bird, reptile, and sea creature is subdued and has been subdued by humankind. 8 But no human being can subdue the tongue; it is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse people made in God’s image. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters. 11 A spring does not pour out fresh water and bitter water from the same opening, does it? 12 Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs? Neither can a salt water spring produce fresh water.” James 3:1-12 (NET)
Yesterday, Jenn and I went to see Garth Brooks in Wichita KS. We had a great time and Garth put on a great show. However, my favorite thing wasn’t his songs (all 2 1/2 hours of them). My favorite thing was how Garth honored those around him. Garth Brooks took time to praise each member of his band…Then, he introduced all the fellow Kansans, that were a part of his backstage crew, that are never seen by the crowds. He didn’t just say their name and point to them…He talked about them. Praised them. Some of the loudest cheers of the night came during this time. And I loved it!
In the scripture above James writes about this very thing. Use your words wisely. Better yet, use your words to lift others up. Read again James final question, "Can a fig tree produce olives, my brothers and sisters, or a vine produce figs?”
As a follower of Jesus, we are expected to speak differently. Our choice of words can easily define us. It is extremely rare for a person who is always yelling, cursing, gossiping, or shouting mean things to be identified as a Christian. Yet the opposite is often true. Someone who is kind and encouraging it is easy to assume that they are a Christian (and a lot of the times you would be correct).
Today, let Jesus be the boss of what you say. Let his words become your words. Be generous with your praise. Don’t offer false praise, people can see through that. But rather, look for the win. Look for the thing that you can celebrate in another.
Today’s generosity challenge…Make someone smile by saying nice things about them.
May there be thousands of smiles today,