A Warning About Words
Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.
Words are a huge part of human existence. Can you imagine how dramatically your life would change if you couldn’t talk or couldn’t hear? Through words we build relationships, we learn from teachers, we run businesses, and encourage one another. Think of how hard your life would be without being able to communicate in words.
There is a downside to our words though. Sadly, we often use our words to hurt people. In our world today, hurtful words are the #1 way that relationships are broken and destroyed. We simply can’t keep our mouths in check. We’ll be looking at this problem all week through the first part of James, chapter 3.
James also gives an extra special warning for those who teach God’s word. Teachers have to use words to teach but if God has given them the authority to teach (using words) to point people to his word, he is going to hold that teacher accountable in ways that other people are not. To whom much responsibility is given, much will be required. Since we all struggle with using our words in ways that God wants, those who want to be teachers of God’s word should think hard before embarking on this tall task. He holds them to a higher standard.
Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
• What do you think it means to “outdo one another in showing honor”?
• Is there a relationship in your life that tends to lead you to using words that are not loving?
• What are some ways that you could use your words to bless people?
Our Father, help us with our mouths. We are tempted in so many ways to dishonor you with our words. We don’t want to do it. We know that you care deeply how we speak. May your truth be always on our lips. May your blessing flow through our words to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.