Sometimes, Christians Need to Be Quiet!
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
So it has been a long time since I wrote anything. Mainly because life has been very demanding over the past couple of months. My wife’s dad died, I got a new job (YEAH!), and I started volunteering to do some Sunday School Directing (God is really moving amongst our 35+ teachers!).
So here we are. I don’t have a lot to write today, just some thoughts about churches in general.
3 Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 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.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both freshwater and saltwater flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
-James 3:1-12 (NIV)
Now this is specifically talking to people who teach/preach God’s word. However, we can all receive some direction here. As I think about everything that goes on in churches, I wonder how much time our leaders spend putting out fires? By fires I mean gossip and “wrong words.” These are the kind of words that should never, ever be spoken. However, our church leaders spend a ton of time, that should be doing God’s work, trying to make church members get along with one another, trying to “hold the boat together.”
In the first century this terminology about fire (verse 6) would have been widely known and understood. You see these people had braziers (fires) in their homes for cooking, warming, and light. Now if they were to open a window and a breeze came in, it could be a very bad thing indeed. The fire from a small spark could spread and burn the home, and everything in it, down. This could happen due to the fact that most things were made of flammable materials (i.e. Wood). The problem with a fire during this time is that it was almost impossible to stop in that day, and could easily spread and hurt people, as well as damage property.
James uses this understanding to communicate to us what the untamable tongue can do to a body of believers. How many times have we seen splits from churches over someone who can’t keep their mouth shut? This is an insult to God. We are to tame our tongues and make sure we are doing God’s work and not our own.
How about you today? Are you guilty of this? If so, then it is time to repent! Do you know someone guilty of this? Maybe they don’t even know they are doing it, let them know (in love!) so that they can be restored to a proper fellowship with God and their fellow believers. The choice is yours.