Been There, Done That

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. - James 3:6
Therewith we bless God, even the Father; and therewith we curse men, which are made after the similitude of God. - James 3:9

    Picture Jesus and His disciples sitting around a campfire. It’s a lovely star filled evening and the disciples are toasting marshmallows or a first century equivalent as they are conversing about the current political climate in Jerusalem under Roman rule. They are animatedly discussing a particular political leader that has incurred their disfavor.
     “I hope he dies with a brain tumor. If he’s martyred they’ll make him a hero and we don’t need another holiday,” Judas scoffs vehemently.
     "What kind of a mentally deranged and psychotic jerk likes him?"
     “He’s ugly too, and his wife’s a dog,” Philip adds.
     The others heartily chortle their agreement.

     The whole time Jesus remains silent watching them as the fire crackles at their feet.
     They finally look over at Jesus expecting a smile of approval. After all, this government isn’t operating on godly principles by any means.
     The disciples’ jovial expressions and the cackling of their voices are quickly doused by their Master’s solemn expression and the intense look of concern on His face as He stares at them over the flames.
     Then Jesus says calmly, yet with an authority that defies contradiction – “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.” (Luke 9:55).
     And this spirit obviously has nothing to do with God.

     The disciples’ inappropriate political commentaries in this fictional illustration are taken from the actual words of Christians attacking those who are in an opposite political camp. At the same time these Christians profess a love for the Lord. The word says that there are those who profess to know Him but their hearts are far from Him. - (Matthew 15:8).
     I know we all have sinned with our tongues at one time or another, we’ve all been there, done that. We have to remind ourselves that the tongue is a flame of fire and every idle word will be taken into account when we stand before the Lord seeking for our divine reward at the judgment. (Matthew 12:36).
     We can picture ourselves seated around that campfire, and remind ourselves that Jesus is there, too. Would He approve the tone of our commentaries and do they reflect hearts that have been regenerated by the Holy Spirit? What impressions are we giving to those who are outside our faith?
     It’s something to think about as we contemplate those dancing flames at our feet.

Copyright 2011 by H. D. Shively

Oh, Christians remember, you bear His dear name,
Your lives are for others to view;
You're living examples - men praise you or blame,
And measure your Savior by you. - Anon.

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