Verse 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.
We have been talking about how our tongues effect our relationships. We have seen the dangers of allowing our tongues free rein. But in what way should we give free rein to our tongues?
As bad as it is to use our tongues for selfish reasons and tearing others down, it is good when we give praise to the Lord with our tongues. Imagine how God enjoys hearing our voices raised in praise to Him as a congregation on Sunday. And then think about how it pains Him to hear those same voices talking about others throughout the week, maybe even before leaving the church building.
James saw how this was damaging to the Church. Remember, this letter was written to the scattered Jewish believers. The Jewish people knew that they were to live for God, but as Jewish believers in Jesus they needed to reflect Christ in all they did. They needed to be extra diligent in how they used their words.
This was a time when each culture had their own god. And unlike our day, the people of each culture knew who they worshiped and what their god expected of them. A person’s religion may have been able to be identified by the rituals they kept. James knew that the Jewish Christians needed to have the same kind of identifying types of marks. They needed to live in ways that made them stand out as Christ’s people.
One of the most obvious ways that they could show that they were Jesus’ people was the very way He told them they would be identified. He said that the world would know they were His people by their love for one another (John 13:35). But it didn’t matter how many times they acted like they loved one another if they spoke against each other.
The same is true of us. It doesn’t matter how much we say we love Christ or how loud we praise if our mouth isn’t also speaking love of and to our fellow believers. We must use our tongues to praise our God and love on His people!
Making It Personal
Do you feel like you praise God from a pure heart? Does saying something bad about another Christian leave a bad taste in your mouth? How does your speech need to change?
Making It Personal Kids
What does it mean to praise the Lord? How does talking mean about people hurt Jesus? Do you talk mean about people?
Father, we confess the times that we have spoken out of both sides of our mouths. Spirit, convict us whenever we start thinking about saying anything about another person. In Jesus’ name, amen.