“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment.” James 3:1
Yikes! You think we might have fewer pastors if this verse wasn’t just passed over? As I have begun entering into this season of my life, beginning the process of applying to Southern, I’ve been challenged in so many ways. As Pastor Troy told me when I asked him about the Affirmation process, this is a life-altering, world-shattering undertaking. It is a massive thing to pursue, because it undeniably alters every aspect of my life both now and in the future.
It’s interesting that for all of my years in youth group and personal bible study, I’ve never really ruminated for any length of time on James 3:1. I’ve read James 3 plenty of times, but I usually skip to the untamable tongue section. It always challenges me, but it challenges me even more now. I can’t just brush my language, or gossip, or the things I laugh at, under the rug any longer. I have a responsibility to not only do my best (with God’s help) to bridle my tongue, but to teach others how important it is and to encourage disciplined speech in the people around me as well.
Facebook is an interesting thing. As much as we love how it connects us to people, it also is a boon to the typical attitude towards speech on the internet. I see students in High School now enter into swearing matches over petty things. Obviously that sort of thing affects relationships both online and in real life. That is what people miss. They feel somewhat anonymous or protected because it is just their name making these statements, not their mouths. Suddenly the things people think (and it is extremely rare to find a person with purely godly thoughts) can be thrown out for all to see.
We need to be mindful as our students, children, nieces and nephews, grandchildren, and friends may be tempted to use the “protection” of Facebook to disparage others, especially from those people who claim Christ as their savior. There is no room for a world-directed tongue in the Christian life. We also must resist the temptation to throw the “guilt-trip” card, because we are all guilty of the same crime. We must approach people that we see partaking in this with love and clothed in true humility, explaining how we have committed the same sin and encouraging an examination of the heart. It is not our job to tell them to stop, it is our job to lovingly explain why.
“But no one can tame the tongue; it is a RESTLESS evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, WHO HAVE BEEN MADE IN THE LIKENESS OF GOD.” James 3:8-9