James 3:9-10 “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be.”
I have a dear friend who got me thinking last week about infectious attitudes. She did this through an event she recapped in the funniest way. I asked her permission to share her story with you, because I think, like me, you just might relate. This is how she told it.
“Katie, you’re going to die when I tell you what I did the other day. I’m so embarrassed over what happened that I don’t even want to tell you. (She certainly had my attention now – she continued) I was driving morning carpool, enjoying the ride and talking with my son, when it happened. I made a turn from a stop sign, and as I turned, I noticed an older gentleman walking his dog in the middle of the other lane. As I got closer to him, I could see he noticed me as well, because he was screaming at me to slow down and obnoxiously waving his hands to emphasize his anger with me. As I passed by, completely annoyed at the ugliness I had just witnessed, I couldn’t help myself – I had to turn around and give that man a piece of my mind. After all, I wasn’t speeding, and he was walking in the middle of the road! As I rolled down my window to make him see the error of his ways, my plan backfired. Embarrassingly enough, we ended up having a shouting match with absolutely no resolution. As I drove away from him, I was so mad at myself for turning around! I should have let it go. But, I didn’t! Instead, I let his mean get all over me!”
Can you relate? Oh, how I can! I loved her analogy “I let his mean get all over me!” Have you ever let someone’s mean get all over you? I have many times. It’s certainly not something I’m proud of, it’s just the truth. As a result of my retaliations, I always had regrets. Regret for not holding my tongue. Regret for not having self-control. Regret for not honoring my heavenly Father with my actions. It reminds me of James’ words, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless…With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers this should not be” (James 1:26, 3:9-10). No, it should not be. Mean for mean is unspiritual. But, how do we fight our flesh? Simply put, as followers of Christ, we must be willing to accept the offenses of others with humility and silence our precious pride.
In the Gospels, Jesus tells us to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and to treat others as we would have them treat us. It’s radically different from what our society tells us to do! When we are offended we must be willing to turn the other cheek and stand with Jesus. Please know, this is not a weak form of complacency. It’s a strong, self-determined, God-motivated love for Christ. Can you imagine the impact we, as Christians, could have on our culture if we truly practiced everything Jesus preached? Our Christ-like attitudes just might become contagious!
This week I challenge myself and each of you in the body of Christ to start a revolution. “Clothe yourself with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience” (Col. 3:12). “Rid yourself of anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips” (Col. 3:8). Immerse yourself in His word which breeds wisdom that is “pure, peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit” (James 3:17). In doing so, you just might infect someone’s attitude with the life-giving Spirit of Christ.
Until next week, striving to start a revolution…Katie