Monday, September 25, 2006

My Loaded Weapon -- the Tongue

I am certain that James was right when he wrote these words about the tongue,
"Our tongues get out of control. They are restless and evil, and always spreading deadly poison." (3:8, CEV)
I have in my mouth a loaded weapon! A weapon of mass destruction! Yet my God has given me the power to captivate my tongue and bridle it for good. The tongue is both an asset and a liability at the same time.

In his chapter on character, Joe Stowell ("Shepherding the Church") writes that the character of a leader is revealed by both speech and conduct. He them articulates a number of verbal sins that leaders (especially pastors) are susceptible to. In that list he shows gossip, slander, lying, deceit, beguilement, murmuring, criticismboasting, and exaggeration. These abuses of the mouth are "tattlers" on our hearts; they reveal the real me and divulge my real relationship with God. [p.158]

I will give you a piece of what Stowell is trying to get across with the example of one of the areas that I was convicted in personally -- slander. Slander is "sharing negative information with the intent to hurt" [p.160]. It is a form of verbal revenge for some other hurt done against me. Slander reveals a heart that "has not yet learned to give our enemies to God and permit Him to care for them. ... It reflects as well an unwillingness in our hearts to suffer when necessary with a patient spirit, trusting God to protect us, deal with our enemies, and work all things together for our good -- the good of His glory and gain." [ibid]

That is truth that cuts me to the quick. I am very good at verbal murder, naturally. But supernaturally, I can overcome this bad habit! I can learn the godly response! I will pass the test in these teachable moments when I will resist the desire to "roast" my opponent with my sympathetic friend. God has given me everything I need for faith and godliness.

And so, I have selected the next passage of Scripture for me to memorize: Matt 12:33-37. Ask me in the next week or so how it's coming. The word of God is the antidote, the cleansing agent for the way of the young man! (Ps. 119:9)

Desiring to have only fresh water coming out,