“Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom…But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness (James 3:13,17-18).”
I am a big fan of American football. Last night I was telling a friend who is also a fan that I one reason I like it is because every game tells a story. In a football game you have heroes, goats, great deeds and huge mistakes. A football game is a metaphor for life.
Unfortunately, real life also intrudes on the game at times. This week a Hall of Fame player from a rival team blasted the owner of my favorite NFL squad. This player said he loved playing against my team because the owner was full of pride and arrogance.
The same day I read this, there was also a story of a quarterback for another NFL team, recently cut, who called the fans of his former city “ruthless”. He looked forward to the day he could come back on an opposing team from another city and beat them.
In the case of the player who attacked the owner of my former team, I do admit bias. But I had to ask myself, “Who is the one who is proud and arrogant here?” For some reason this former player, years retired, took it upon himself to denigrate the character of another person in public.
The Bible speaks against pride and lauds humility. A godless man is one who trys to destroy the honor of another person with his mouth. A person’s tongue can destroy a whole city! A person who runs his mouth like this lacks wisdom and judgment (Proverbs 11:2,9,11-12).
On the other hand, I need to look in the mirror before I chastize these football players. The Bible also says that none of us is perfect, especially when it comes to running our mouths. It is especially scary that the Word of God warns that not many people should be teachers because of this fact(James 3:1,2). It’s a fearful thing to me because this is what I do for a living.
What is really scary is that the Bible says that the tongue cannot be controlled. It uses words like “evil” and “poison” to describe it (James 3:7,8). If this is true, what hope do we have when we open our mouths?
The answer seems to be that since we can’t control the tongue, we have to reign in the heart. A good heart can’t produce vile stuff. If we control ourselves, our tongue can’t set other people or whole communities ablaze. Instead, through good hearts we can use our tongues to be instruments of peace.