And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. - James 3:6
James becomes increasingly passionate about communicating the dangers of a loose tongue in this passage, as evidenced by the stronger words he chooses here. The words we choose can destroy our lives, and those destructive words are set on fire by hell itself. That reality should cause us to pause and consider every word that comes out of our mouths. Are they furthering the Kingdom?
We are told in scripture that we are to our on compassion, kindness, humility, patience, and love. We do that with the words we choose.
I know when I read these words, my heart sinks at how I've failed to live them out in the challenging relationships in my life. Words I have chosen in frustration or anger, even in despair or fear, have caused such damage to relationships in my life. Thankfully, He has brought me to such a place of brokenness over the words I choose in my life, that I am increasingly allowing the Spirit to move and speak works of love to those who challenge me.
We are called to love others, no matter what. Our response in all situations should be to love those around us. The transformational power of love is like nothing else in this world. But, undoubtedly, each of us has at least one person in our lives who presses us in our capacity to love. When we are frustrated with the demands of this person, and we don't know what to do or how to love, we are to submit our wills to His, and allow Him to fill us with His love and His words. We love by letting go of our expectations for people and situations, and putting on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, and patience. This is how we love. Absorb their difficulty for the sake of the greater mission. Be the person you would want to be if Jesus came back the moment you were interacting with that person. Look at that person as God sees them, a lost soul in need of a Savior, and if they’re saved, then view them as a soul in need of sanctification through love. Gently love them as you want our Father in Heaven to love you as He sanctifies you.
Even if love is what you've been doing all along with that difficult person and it seems to have no impact, just keep loving. Trust that if you are doing work for the Kingdom, the Kingdom is at work - you may not see it on the outside, but God is at work in that person's life. Make no mistake - He is sovereign over that relationship. He has sent you into their life to show them the love of Christ, or you wouldn't be interacting with them. Imagine the world if all people treated one another in this way - that's the world God created, and it's the one He wants us to work toward bringing back.
It's a broken world out there, with a lot of unfiltered hatred toward people. We are called to be different. In a world full of hatred, we are to act differently. We are to be loving and compassionate and kind and humble, and patient. When you don't know what to say, speak words of love and life.
Press on ~ you are loved 💗
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