Date: Wednesday, May 21
Scripture: James 3:1-12
Verse: Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth. My brothers and sisters, it just shouldn’t be this way! (James 3:10)
Donald Sterling, owner of the Los Angeles Clippers professional basketball team, was recently fined and banned “for life from any association with the Clippers organization or the NBA” (from Commissioner Adam Silver’s press conference as recorded HERE). What action caused such a severe punishment? Words. Sterling was recorded saying racist things about members of the L.A. Clippers and the NBA. The issue with Sterling is serious because his words are believed to reveal something about his character. Sterling has learned the hard way what James taught. The tongue is a “small flame [that] can set a whole forest on fire” (3:5). Sterling’s tongue caused him to lose connection with an important part of his life.
Our words reveal our character, and all too often they send a mixed message — that is what today’s reading is all about. How can we sing worship songs one minute, James asks, then talk badly about someone over brunch just a few hours later? Or how can we sit in a Bible Study Tuesday night, then go to work Wednesday morning and slam a co-worker behind their back? “Blessing and cursing come from the same mouth [and] it just shouldn’t be this way!” (James 3:10). We need to learn to tame our tongues.
I was once told about a family who didn’t cuss on Sundays. Apparently the rest of the week some members were quite fond of some of those words, but it was strictly prohibited on Sunday. While not cussing on Sunday is a good start, we should strive to reveal the character of Christ living in us in all circumstances, every day of the week — even through our speech.
Prayer: Teach me, Holy Spirit, to tame my tongue. Amen.
Action: Vow to be positive in your speech in the day ahead.
Respond: Sterling’s punishment has created some conversation. What do you think? Is a lifetime ban appropriate? If not, what should the punishment be?
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