Oh boy. We are tackling a big subject today that is close to everyone’s heart – the sin of the tongue.
This is a universal sin. Everyone struggles and everyone falls. There isn’t a single person alive who is able to perfectly control this small part of their body.
James mentions in Chapter 3, Verse 1 a note of caution for those of us who struggle in this area: we shouldn’t be too eager to become teachers. He is especially talking about those who teach about God.
Those who teach others hold a great power. They are able to steer people closer to God or farther away. They have the ability to help others become more knowledgeable about God and help them mature in their faith. They also have the ability to teach false doctrines, half-truths and thinly veiled heresies leaving those whom they teach immature and believing lies.
Teachers hold great responsibilities, and with that comes greater accountability and judgment for the direction in which they lead others.
It is easy to quickly skip over these verses because most of us don’t teach Bible in a formal way as professional educators. Most of us don’t travel the globe speaking at conferences and conventions. But let’s not fly through this passage too quickly – there is something in here for all of us.
- If you lead a Bible study, you are responsible either for the teaching or for what is being taught.
- If you are mentoring or are disciplining another person, you will be held accountable for what you teach.
- If you are a parent and have children, you hold great responsibility because you are called to train your children in the knowledge of God (Deut. 6).
The responsibility that we have as parents is overwhelming. Because we are with our children all the time, so teaching happens more with our kids than with other people. What are we teaching? What truths about God are they learning? Do we make things up or say things that are not true in order to get our kids to obey? Do we show them the beauty of Jesus or only the stern “rules” they are to follow?
How do we do a good job teaching our family and others about God?
We need to be good students. Specifically, we need to be diligent students of God’s Word who understand that the Bible is a book first and foremost about God and not about man. Because Scripture is God revealing Himself to us, we need to always ask, “What is this passage teaching about God?” Then we can ask “What does this truth reveal about me?” or “How should this passage affect the way I live?”
James is letting us know that God expects us to portray Him truthfully and rightly. That teaching is a scary calling because we will be held accountable for what we teach about God and His word to others.
But don’t get too overwhelmed! We have the Holy Spirit as our teacher, other believers to talk things out with and a plethora of books with sound Biblical teaching available to us.
And when we mess up, we have a Savior who is more than willing to forgive us and help us use our tongue in a way that edifies and encourages others.
Looking To Jesus,
Week 3 Challenge: This week, pray and ask God to help you speak words that encourage and give life to those around you. Intentionally pay attention to the words you speak and if you find yourself criticizing others or yourself, ask God to help you speak words that build up rather than words that tear down.
Week 3 Reading Plan
Week 3 Memory Verse
Thank you for this week’s challenge – it is exactly what I need to keep in mind and remind myself of each day. Words can have great impact, both for good and for bad, and I want to make sure mine have only the good kind of impact! 🙂 It will not be easy, but it will be worth it!
I do not understand what you are saying about god and gossip. The Hebrew scripture states that one of the sins Jews must guard against is “lushen horah.” The translation is evil
Tongue. Jews pray for forgivenesd for this sin every year during the year Yom Kippur service. You know that I love you very much!
I just disagree with you theologically. 2 petosky stones
Hi Beverly I read your post and now I’m confused a bit. What is it exactly that you disagree with? I want to understand! I’m not sure I can help but I love to try!! I love how you brought the Jewish language into your post. Please help me get where you disagree !
Kim, I do not understand what you are proposing as a New Testament teacher about gossip. Gossip in Hebrew scripture is called”lushen horah.” Every year at the day of atonement service, Jews ask god to forgive them. Gossip is meant to Jews as spreading falsehood and idle chatter for one’s own titillation. I am a frequent violator of this commandment. Please know that I love, love, you. I just disagree with your theology! Petosky two stones. Great news: I was dismissed from my s. B. Therapist with the following diagnosis: clinically resilient. I am sooooo happy. When can we all see each other! Love…..
I completely agree with you! Too many times people don’t really understand the responsibility that goes with being a teacher – whether as a parent, a school teacher, a Sunday School teacher, Youth Group leader, Men’s or Women’s Group leader, or a Pastor, etc. I am a homeschool mom & I have always taken that role so very serious. Both as my children’s mother & their academic teacher, I have always understood that their futures depend on me. (Please don’t misunderstand that comment.) I also believe that when you hold one of these positions, you are responsible for what others teach in your place as well. If the pastor goes on vacation & someone fills in for them or a teacher invites somebody to speak to their group/class, they are responsible for what that ‘guest speaker’ teaches . If they teach something wrong, not only are they held accountable but so are you. It is YOUR responsibility. God gave you that position & you’re responsible for what is taught, whether by you or anyone else. I think the same applies to parents. God gave us our children to raise & to teach according to His will. I believe it is our responsibility to KNOW the ones that we are sharing the teaching of our children with – babysitters, Bible teachers, academic teachers, etc. We need to make it our business to know what they are being taught. Sometimes we need to correct wrong teachings (tooth fairy, Easter, Christmas, Trunk or Treat (Why does the church say Halloween is evil, but then say it’s okay for our children to do the very same thing that the kids who celebrate Halloween do? Really, what’s the difference between a Halloween party & a Harvest party? The kids still wear costumes & go around collecting lots of candy. ???) etc.). As we understand more about our responsibilities, and seek God’s wisdom, He will guide us by showing us what corrections are needed, which speaker to invite, & what rules/guidelines we need to set. Matthew 5:17-20