I read James 3 this morning.
I expected to be slammed by the things James says about our tongues,
and certainly I did once again take note of them
in hopes of pushing them further into my heart.
From the time I was a child, I knew I was guilty in the face of this passage.
Perhaps if my tongue took a key to unlock,
I would pause long enough to hold it when I should.
But it was verse 13 onward that opened in my mind today.
"If you are wise and understand God's ways,
prove it by living an honorable life,
doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom."
Some translations call it meekness.
Wouldn't you almost think that wisdom and knowledge
would make you bold and brash?
According to the Scripture, it brings humility with it.
Because really, understanding God's ways
will make me more ready to submit to them.
And wisdom will recognize my own past foolishness.
My lack of understanding that led to the experiential knowledge, perhaps.
"Jealousy and selfishness are not God's kind of wisdom," it says.
"Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic.
For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition,
there you will find disorder and evil of every kind."
O Lord -- banish it from among us!
"The wisdom from above is first of all pure."
Clean. Innocent. Modest.
Jealous motives and selfishness are not its motivators.
It doesn't operate to protect me and my kingdom.
"It is also peace loving, gentle... and willing to yield to others."
It loves peace.
It is not hoping for a fight.
"It is full of mercy and good deeds."
This mercy is compassion that acts.
When we lack compassion, we are quick to judge.
We think the worst of other people's motives.
But compassion is quick to feel their pain.
To recognize fear or loneliness or aching hearts
in the actions of others.
It pities and prays and offers a hand,
instead of whispering.
"It shows no favoritism and is always sincere."
The world is a dangerous place to be sincere in.
But it is such a refreshing thing in a world full of lies.
There ought to be no question in our minds
when we are with other believers about their sincerity.
There ought to be genuineness and reality in our interactions --
an honesty about who we are,
not little intrigues and manipulations,
and party loyalties.
"And those who are peacemakers will plant seeds of peace
and reap a harvest of righteousness."
O Lord; open our eyes to ways in which we can plant peace,
and harvest righteousness.