I am taking a break from the daily blog until after Thanksgiving. But come back daily for an excerpt from my book “Bring’em Back Alive”. This section is from a chapter called Feud for Thought. We covered numbers 1 & 2 yesterday.
There is a book that details a multitude of uses for duct tape. I might suggest one more: If you have a critical spirit, tape your mouth shut. (I confess, that would reduce a fair amount of my own communication.) A bit of more scriptural but less colorful advice is contained in the book of James.
It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. (James 3:6)
James doesn’t pull any punches, does he? One good way to cling to unity is by not believing the gossip that is spread about our fellow Christians. And we certainly shouldn’t spread it any further. Gossip is a parasite that requires a host organism to survive; don’t give gossip a place to live. Think of how many times you have believed something to be true only to find out the information was mostly or even totally wrong. The threat of a libel or slander lawsuit causes some us to be cautious in our written remarks about others. But we’re not so careful about our discussing our brothers and sisters in Christ. Are we really more concerned about the People’s Court than the Kingdom’s Court?
God is serious about how we communicate about others in the flock. Peter writes:
Be agreeable, be sympathetic, be loving, be compassionate, be humble. That goes for all of you, no exceptions. No retaliation. No sharp-tongued sarcasm. Instead, bless—that’s your job, to bless. You’ll be a blessing and also get a blessing. (1 Peter 3:8-9)
So there is an added bonus for your godly communication: a blessing at no extra charge.
On a personal note, thanks to all of you who have prayed for me concerning my sharp-tongued sarcasm. I certainly need the prayer and you probably need the practice!
Love your neighbor as yourself. There are some tough to love people out there, aren’t there? I think God knew how difficult the task would be when He made that commandment a benchmark of walking with Him. Nothing I have encountered that is truly worthwhile is easy.
Marriage? Not easy but definitely worth it. Parenting? Not easy but certainly rewarding. Being a great athlete or student or musician? Not easy but immensely satisfying. Why do we hope that the most incredible journey of our lives should be easy? Loving our neighbors across the board is humanly impossible; only by the grace of God and the daily intervention of the Holy Spirit do we even muster a chance. The difficulties of loving the unlovable, forgiving their offenses, and embracing our responsibilities to them as followers of Christ will be discussed in detail in Chapter 10.
To be continued…