Wednesday, May 23, 2007
James 3
WARNING: No one will like this post!

Chapter three is my favorite chapter in the book of James. It hits home with me because I think it's the area where God convicts me the most. Women are known for being talkers. My husband has heard me on the phone before talking to someone and after hanging up, he has busted me. "Babe, how would you feel if someone was talking about you like that?" Then I try to justify by saying, "I am not saying anything bad. I am just trying to explain the situation to someone that will understand." But, here's the cold, hard, facts. It's wrong, it destroys, it damages, it makes you look bad. And if someone is talking/"discussing" something with you about another person, rest assured, they will do the same about you behind your back. Another justification we make is this. "Well, I am just talking about it with my friend because maybe the can help me work through it." In my opinion, that's the worst kind of gossip.

A few years ago I was in a horrible position. I had two friends that did not like one another at all. Both of them talked bad about each other to me. I should have stopped it. I should have said, "Should you be saying this to me?" But, I didn't. Instead, I sometimes joined in and talked about both of them. When this goes on, we plant seeds in the other person's mind that may not have been there until we opened up our big mouth. Ugh! I hate even writing about this because things come to my mind INSTANTLY and I feel convicted. The problem with the situation a few years ago was we were all a part of the same circle. If someone had a problem with another lady, they should have talked to someone that is totally on the outside. A friend that does not even KNOW the other person. Further more, maybe it should not be talked about AT ALL. What if we got on our knees every single time someone did something we didn't like instead of picking up the phone to tell our friends? For example, I am in a group of women right now that is pretty small. There are four girls that I come in contact with on a regular basis. A few of them I talk to almost every day and see every other. If one of them does something to hurt my feelings or if there is something I do not understand or like about them, it would be WRONG for me to call up one of the other girls and tell them about it. And if one of them calls and decides to tell me about their hurt feelings over something, I need to say "Stop. Don't tell me." This is the biggest threat to groups and it can destroy friendships and damage what God is trying to accomplish in our lives. Did you get that? Our words about others can HINDER what God is doing in their lives. That is HUGE!

As I read this passage this morning, I felt convicted of some of my behavior in the past. I have not been a part of a close knit group of women in a long time. I know how miserable it is to be a part of a group where gossip goes on and I know what it is like to be a major contributor to that sort of environment. I also know what it feels like to be talked about. There is nothing that hurts more than someones words. Physical pain is easier to deal with in my opinion. Much easier!

Several years ago I was a children's pastor at a very small church. That's weird to think about now because that is so not my gift. Anyway, I did an object lesson one Sunday that so many of you are probably familiar with. I took a tube of toothpaste and squeezed the entire tube into a bowl and then ask the kids to help me get all of the toothpaste back into the tube. You can imagine their responses. "Miss Mandi, you can't do that! It's impossible!" And they were absolutely correct. It's impossible!! The toothpaste is exactly like our words. You can clean up the toothpaste, just like you can ask for forgiveness for saying ugly things but ,you cannot take those words back. It's impossible!!

Luke 12:2 says this. "Everything that is secret will be brought out into the open. Everything that is hidden will be uncovered. 3 What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight. What you have whispered to someone behind closed doors will be shouted from the rooftops. "

This morning at 4am, Ezekiel woke up. He is teething so his nights have been a little rough lately and mine too. But it's also been good for my prayer time. I knew what James 3 was about this morning so I began to pray about it and I thought of a dear friend in my life, Janna. She will hate me putting her on display like this but the Holy Spirit brought her to my mind. I have known Janna since 8th grade and I can honestly say that I have NEVER heard her gossip and I have NEVER heard anyone gossip about her. She is the only person I have ever known that I can say that about. And that is the kind of woman I long to be. I feel that God has called me to minister primarily to women and that means I have to love them instead of talk about them.

Chapter three was not the most FUN chapter to read but it is the one that has the most impact on me. I am praying that God will convict me of my words and that I will become instantly aware of things I DO NOT need to say. There is NOTHING good that comes from it. Even if it's about people in the past, people you no longer know, talking about them is wrong. I've been guilty over and over again and I no longer wish to be that kind of woman. I'm not here to make you feel guilty but if the shoe fits, it may be time to take that shoe off! I am praying that others will say, "Amanda loves people and I never hear her say bad things about other people."

And one more thing! I am so proud to be a part of a group of young women that are constantly seeking godliness. I am praying for protection over our group and I know that God has called us to be different. I am happy to be doing life with all of you.

1 Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. 3 We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. 4 And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. 5 In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. 6 And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. 7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. 10 And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! 11 Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? 12 Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

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  posted at 10:46 AM

At 9:53 AM, Blogger Kelly said...


Once again you have hit the nail on the head! These verses speak to me, and are among those that I must go back to time and again. God is so clear, in these passages, that our words carry so much power. Power to do good, or to do harm.
I agree wholeheartedly that among women the words are too often hurtful and damaging. I have been aware of my own shortcomings in this area, and convicted to change over the last few years. I still struggle, but I am more aware than I had been, and so when I realize what I am saying, I try to stop myself from going down the dangerous trail of gossip. I am ashamed to say that I seem to overlook my own weakness in this area when it seems that others around me are "so much worse than I am". So I have been actively making the effort to remove myself from conversations (and in some case from entire relationships!!) that are not glorifying God and just sit silently or change the subject. It is interesting, when you do this, how often others are convicted as well, and even if they don't react favorably, I feel proud that I wasn't sucked in. It is a daily battle, and I feel that satan uses our gift for gab, which builds relationhips with other women, to destroy trust in one another.
How awesome for you to have a group of women as confidantes and soul encouragers. I have chosen to remove myself from my Bible study group of 9 years for this very reason... too much time spent gossiping, so I knew when I wasn't there I was being talked about and I couldn't be a part of a group that I couldn't trust. I pray that God will anoint your group to do great things in His name, and be an example to ithers around of you of real godly relationships.
Keep us posted- I love your messages:-)

At 10:09 AM, Anonymous janna said...

i have visitors this week (my in-laws), so this chapter especially spoke to me about the ways i interact with them, specifically my mother-in-law. when i am annoyed or threatened or insecure, i can be consecending with my words. maybe i am subtle, but that almost seems worse. i know that she is in my home, helping with my children (a huge help, too!) and she wants to please me. so, i want to be appreciative, grace-giving, and to be the one to put her at ease. but i miss the mark a lot of the times. ah, the joys of conviction...

At 11:00 AM, Blogger Christina said...

"....if the shoe fits, it may be time to take the shoe off."

Taking the shoe off and throwing it off a cliff. :-)

At 11:30 AM, Blogger Amy said...

I like this post:)

I've been very convicted lately of something a little similar that seems to penetrate groups of friends, as well: Jealousy!

I think Satan uses this to destroy fellowship and I've been trying to throw each thought of jealousy out the door. It helps no one and does damage to Christ's body. Thanks for the post.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger Dee said...

AMEN! This is a passage that time and again has convicted me! And I am SO guilty of just "talking" not "gossiping." The truth is there -- hit your knees, not the telephone!!!! I am daily striving to make this change and it is NOT an easy one to make when you are in the habit of "sharing" with another. I treasure my friendships and by allowing gossip of any kind even if about a neutral person as a part of that friendship - it is weakened!

Our tongue is SUCH a small thing, but holds SO much power -- we should strive for our tongues to do GOOD and not EVIL! :)

At 12:27 PM, Blogger V. said...

I have to so (much more) careful about this and my mother-in-law. She has shaped many parts of my husband's life that are not pretty and I have to be so careful to bite my tongue and not point those things out to him.

I know I have done it. I know I have said "I hate it when she.....(talks to you that way), (interrupts you), (one-ups you in every conversation) .....

When I said it I am sure that my intention was to show my hubby that I was HIS biggest fan, that those things and those words don't define him. I'm sure my initial motives were positive.

And many seeds have I now planted in HIS head? He doesn't need to hear about the ways she messes him up. He probably needs to hear more about how she builds him up.

That is just like the creep isn't it? We start off with good intentions, but he messes with our minds and we end up doing more damage.

This is something I've been working on for awhile now. I hope I'm getting better!


At 12:52 PM, Blogger Gwen said...

GUILTY! Thank you for this post!

At 8:13 PM, Blogger Liz said...

Very good stuff! Sometimes Hard to swallow, but very needed. It is SOOO convicting. I have been guilty at times for saying things I should not. But the Lord really convicted me of this a few years ago. He made me more aware of my need to watch what I say. I feel the Holy Spirit tuging at me when I am about to open my mouth (sadly I don't always listen to His warning). I was in a Bible study last summer about the tongue...boy were my eyes opened. It was a great study.

I lead a womens Bible study at our church so especially for my testimonys sake I have to really guard my words. How can I as a leader be trusted if I were to spout my mouth off behind others backs? I want the women in our study to be able to trust me. I pray so hard for the women, especially about this issue. I have seen first hand just how damaging words between women can be, and seen friendships torn apart.

Thank you for sharing and for your insight and encouragment!

At 6:35 AM, Blogger Paula said...

This is a tough chapter isn't it? Watching the tounge is a constant battle. It is sneaky because like you, I "explain" situations and that is not any better than just out right gossiping.
So thank you for the reminder. That is my goal for this wek. Concentrate on positive talk.


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