I revisited James chapter three this morning. I hated that chapter as a kid. One I didn’t believe in God, two it was a punishment to write due to the lack of control over my words, and three I didn’t feel like it was being modeled very well to me.
I am such a hypocrite. The words that I have muttered hurt others sometimes intentional and at others times the words that I spoke meant to be helpful only caused harm.
I must have been told as a child to stop at verse 12 because the next section is on wisdom. I don’t remember writing this part of the chapter.
I like that James points out once again what an idiot I am. He talks about being gentle not having bitterness and selfish ambition. I believe these two sections are tied together. How many times have I been prideful? Can’t even begin to count. I am a planner and through selfishness I can plan someone’s life to help them. Really? Verse 16 was a true moment of clarity. Every kind of evil comes from envy and selfish ambition.
I grew up watching and hearing people being angry at one person or another because of a real or perceived action. Sometimes it was because it was the infraction of not doing their life the way the person thought their life should go.
I have had to really fight against this in my own mind. It is an easy distraction from my flaws if I point out another person’s flaws. I can put someone under a microscope of negativity and feel really good about myself or feel pity on someone because their reality is far worse than the fantasy world I create for them. If they would just do my plan. I can talk to others about said person tearing down instead of building up.
I don’t want that for me or those around me. I have had to give this mindset over to God. I pray to God instead of talk to people about other people’s flaws. I’ve handed that over to God. And the truth of the matter is, God only knows a person’s heart or their circumstances, and eventually the outcome. I don’t need to talk about it with others. If it is something between me and that person, I need to approach that person with gentleness to resolve conflict not impose my will. Prayer changes hearts, circumstances, and behavior. God is in control, not me.
I believe it is a duty to pray for others, to act when called, but most of all to love unselfishly. God has never once said to me, as a christian please judge those around you harshly. The Bible does point us to look at our own flaws and help others with gentleness, kindness, mercy, patience, love, grace, joy, and self-control.
I think if my heart is better, my words will be as well.