I’ve really fallen in love with a statement that one of our saints at St. Matthews, that I never got to meet, was famous for saying. I have been told that Octavia Perry loved to say “God don’t like ugly.” I thought about that when I read today text from James 3: 5-10:
How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. 10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. That right there. That’s it.
And for us today, there is a special burden with this. We need to be aware of our words, not just the ones that we speak, but the ones that we share on Facebook. And Twitter. And Instagram. Snapchat. Through text. And email. In our world today, our words are more than just what we say, but what we share through our media.
How are we speaking today? How are we using our tongues? What fires are we starting?
Where we are in our world right now, as Christians, we have to really live into this. The tongue is a fire. No one can tame the tongue, we bless God and curse those made in the likeness of God.
James is imploring the Christians of his day to live into this calling to watch how we speak to each other. The phrase that always convicts me is when he reminds us with that with our tongues we praise God and curse the ones made in the likeness of God.
How we speak to each other really matters. How we talk about each other matters. How we speak about those that are not present with us matters. We can help, or we can hurt.
We can speak grace, or we can speak judgment. We can speak love, or we can speak hatred. We can speak peace, or we can speak discord.
Our language matters. And God don’t like ugly. God wants to us to love each other, with our actions and with our words.
Toady, may we do that. Let’s live grace, let’s speak grace. I’m not saying that we have to agree with each other. But we need to speak grace to one another today. And each day.