July 16, 2011
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3:10
A few months ago I had the opportunity of listening to a young pastor tell of his attempts to deal with an especially sensitive -- that is, an especially cantankerous -- member of his congregation.
The crowning story of his litany of difficulties dealt with a church picnic his congregation had thrown.
It seems this senior member of his church had been out of town when plans were being made, and the pastor had neglected to inform her of the festivities. Only the night before the event was to take place did he remember the failure. As the pastor recalled the event, he quickly got on the phone to apologize and extend a personal invitation to the lady.
After he made his apologies but before he could offer his invitation, the lady interrupted. She said, "I've already heard about the event. One of my friends told me. Don't bother with any apologies; they won't change things. I've already prayed for rain."
Now while I can't verify the pastor was telling me the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, I can bear witness to the fact I've known people and pastors who might easily have said such a thing.
Maybe you've also been acquainted with a number of folks who can go to church, who can bow their heads for prayer and lift their voices loud in singing. Maybe you've noticed that the rest of the week their tongues are used in unneeded criticism and unfair complaint.
As James said, "these things ought not to be so." Our beloved Savior, who was our Substitute and Sacrifice, is hardly glorified by such a thing.
Indeed, it is difficult to imagine how many souls have been lost when seekers hear a Christian confess his faith in church, but deny it with his words the rest of the week.
Such is a great and preventable loss! This is why I would very much like to have you join me in doing all we can to curb our tongues from all that which is not edifying, enlightening or enriching?
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are so many things which ought not to be. High on Your list are those times when the tongues of Your people are used to hurt and insult. May we, in thanksgiving to the Savior who lived, died and rose for our salvation be given the power to put a muzzle on all which might be said in a negative way. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries