James 3:6 ~ And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
What church doesn’t have that “one among their members” who never understands the need of keeping their trap shut when it comes to expressing an opinion without regard for the feelings attached? Perhaps you’re that person (insert smile here, for you likely don’t know it) and it is for certain that we all have the ability to be that person. But this morning as I prepare my heart for attending service my thoughts are on the others attending and the importance of feeling loved and understood. Part of the charm that attracted me to Victory Baptist Church was that I felt a part of it from day one, that I mattered. The Pastor at that time called me that first Sunday afternoon and ask what I thought of services that day. Wow! Was my response to him, but not about the church, about the fact that he called to see what I thought! Don’t get me wrong, I loved the church too, but what was most important to setting me on a course of salvation was the words that fueled the fire. A pastor have never called me before… nor a church member for that matter to tell me that I mattered. That’s a lot of “matters,” but it does!
There’s a right fire and a wild fire and both have the power to turn a body of Christ as the helm of a ship as it says in James 3:4 ~ Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
Words are a mighty thing. Edward G. Bulwer-Lytton, a nineteenth century author coined the phrase “The pen is mightier than the sword;” a phrase he knew the meaning of full well having lived years with a discontented wife (and possibly rightly so) who then became his ex-wife . She berated him in books and musings as well as publically. In June 1858, when her husband was standing as parliamentary candidate for Hertfordshire, she indignantly denounced him in a pubic event, he retaliated by threatening her publishers, withholding her allowance, and denying access to the children. He then had her committed to a mental asylum but with public outcry had her released a few weeks later. Her words were ruining his life, but the both of them were the willing victims of one another.
I fear as the bride of Christ, our words have done far more damage than we’re aware. I won’t go into the words spoken that harm and discourage God’s children, for they are too many; and it does little to speak about a condemning, gossiping tongue, for those who have one usually choose to justify it. I’m assuming this morning that you are of the lot who desires to encourage and edify the body of Christ… well let me encourage you with my pen, or the stroke of the keyboard. Let your words speak Christ into the heart of someone today. Tell them you’re glad they came to church, call them afterwards and let them know that you loved their visit. Perhaps it’s someone who’s been in your congregation for a while, let them know that you enjoy their presence, speak life into their soul!
Those few words that the Pastor to spoke to me that Sunday in February of 1996 set a righteous fire in my heart that is still burning with great passion for Jesus Christ today.