Reverend Billy Graham told of a time early in his ministry when he arrived in a small town to preach a sermon. Wanting to mail a letter, he asked a young boy where the post office was. When the boy had told him, Dr. Graham thanked him and said, “If you’ll come to the Baptist Church this evening, you can hear me telling everyone how to get to heaven.”The boy replied, “I don’t think I’ll be there… You don’t even know your way to the post office.”
We can all say things that hurt. How does the Bible instruct us on these things? Let’s look to the book of James to see.This is a fantastic little book for any Christian to spend some time in. Among other things, we read in it of the characteristics of the mature Christian and how he is patient in trouble, how he practices truth, and how he has control over his tongue. So that’s where we will be for the next few weeks.
What does your witness say about you? What power does the tongue hold? Jumping right into the third chapter of James, let’s look at Verses 1 & 2:
“My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.”
I am partial to the King James Version, but for clarity, the ISV puts it this way:
“Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more severely than others. For all of us make many mistakes. If someone does not make any mistakes when he speaks, he is perfect and able to control his whole body.”
What is James trying to tell us here? He reminds us that to be called as a teacher or instructor carries a heavy burden. Now, I love to teach. I love to go in-depth with my Bible Studies. Even so, I always have to make very certain of what it is I’m going to be saying and how it may come off. To teach or lead in any capacity is a role we must take very seriously. Deadly seriously!
We must approach that with utmost respect for we will be held accountable for what we teach and or preach.This perspective in James is an echo of Luke 12:48. There Jesus warned us there that to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much have been committed, of him they will ask more.
The Scripture is very clear: We who teach, if we stumble, will face a more severe judgment than those who simply hear us…
“The Power of the Tongue” continues next time…
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