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Setting the forest ablaze

March 6, 2012

It seems that every time I think that I’ve made any progress at all in my walk, my tongue gets in the way and backwards I tumble.  Last night was a perfect example.  Without going into detail, I let the silliest issue get in the way of my relationship with the person on this earth that should expect & receive the most kindness, patience, grace and love that I could ever give to any person.  I allowed a simple statement to provide justification for tearing into this person (yes, my wife) like a coyote on a house cat.  I use the coyote analogy because we have an ongoing problem with a pack of coyotes that roams our area of town and this pack is notorious for feasting on small pets & children.  I’ve sent a few coyotes to their doom with 00 buck, but I digress (just kidding about the children).

I was attempting to have a morning devotional and the Lord reminded me of the unpleasant way in which I spoke to my wife last night by bringing to mind James chapter 3:

…How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (ESV)

While the tongue lashing I gave my wife was obviously inappropriate, what’s even worse are the subtle ways in which I often find myself using my tongue to sin against God & man.  That subtle, seemingly lighthearted quip that is supposed to be humorous, but quite often is actually hurtful because of the little bit of truth that it might contain is one of my specialties.  That little sting of sarcasm that I can work into a simple statement or question,  which is sometimes so subtle that you might not be quite sure that the sarcasm is actually intended, is another one of my specialties.  This sarcasm “thing” is the one at which I’m most talented.  Of course, I grew up in a family full of master sarcasmologists, each of whom could have easily won the world sarcasm title, against any and all comers, if there was such a contest, but that’s no excuse.  How ridiculous that I let my tongue do so much damage, when God can use it for His glory, “…these things ought not to be…”

Dear Lord, I sadly confess the way in which I use my tongue to tear down rather than to edify.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  Please help me to transform my mind with your word, in a way that transforms my actions, so that I may walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.

From → Devotional

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