Ever since our return from Brazil, I’ve been enjoying the rich, smooth taste of the coffee I brought back. It makes the thought of the bitter stuff we normally drink offensive… What a contrast, when it all comes from the same kind of bean!
The other day as I walked out of a store to my car, a mother was screaming at her 2 small boys, basically wanting them to shut up about whatever they were trying to tell her, and she “told” them that they had to go get something to eat. My heart just broke at the way those boys were addressed, and I wondered how they will grow up, if that is the way they are raised. Both little fellas were crying, and I just wanted to go hug them and let them know that there is love in the world, and not everyone grows up being spoken to in that manner.
James 3 says this: 7-12 This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!
My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?
So can Brazilian coffee beans taste the same when produced in different places? Can a mother scream at her small sons and have them grow up feeling secure and loved? The rest of that part of James 3 states this:
13-18 Do you want to be counted wise, to build a reputation for wisdom? Here’s what you do: Live well, live wisely, live humbly. It’s the way you live, not the way you talk, that counts. Mean-spirited ambition isn’t wisdom. Boasting that you are wise isn’t wisdom. Twisting the truth to make yourselves sound wise isn’t wisdom. It’s the furthest thing from wisdom—it’s animal cunning, devilish conniving. Whenever you’re trying to look better than others or get the better of others, things fall apart and everyone ends up at the others’ throats.
Real wisdom, God’s wisdom, begins with a holy life and is characterized by getting along with others. It is gentle and reasonable, overflowing with mercy and blessings, not hot one day and cold the next, not two-faced. You can develop a healthy, robust community that lives right with God and enjoy its results only if you do the hard work of getting along with each other, treating each other with dignity and honor.
Just like my coffee from Brazil tasting so rich and smooth, pleasing to the tongue with every drop, God wants the words that come out of our mouths to be kind and loving, treating everyone around us with love and respect. Blessing and cursing are opposites – if you do one, the other just doesn’t fit in with the lifestyle – it makes you an hypocrite.
Have you ever seen elderly people who are just horribly nasty, mean, grumpy and difficult to get along with? I always wonder what kind of life they lead to end up with that kind of attitude. Do you think they were like the mom mentioned above? How sad…
Just as I am enjoying the coffee I am drinking, I will also try to live my life so that I am not two-faced. I will live to please God to the very best of my ability. And as my old CYC (Christian Youth Crusaders) program stated in their pledge:
“Taking Jesus as my example and Saviour, as a Cadet Crusader I will try to increase in wisdom, stature, and in favor with God and man.”
52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.