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Monday, February 21, 2011

The Tangle Of The Tongue

Are YOU Cursing or Blessing Others?James 3:9,10 - Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

James in his continuing discourse on the tongue reminds us of the inconsistency of blessing God on one hand and cursing men on the other.  James' conclusion is simple and straightforward.

"therewith bless we God, even the Father;"
The word "bless" here means to speak well of.  God is worthy of being blessed.  He of right lays claim to our blessing him.  It is often with the tongue that we do this and that is a good, a very good thing.  It is a good use of the tongue.

With the tongue we bless God.  With the tongue we praise him.  With the tongue we exalt him.  With the tongue we extol him.  With the tongue we worship him.

"and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God."

The word "curse" means to execrate or to declare to be evil or detestable, denounce, to detest utterly.  With the tongue we rail against men.  With the tongue we slander men.  With the tongue we tear down men.  With the tongue we accentuate the faults of men.

So with the same tongue we bless God and curse men????

Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing.
It is inconsistent.  It is hypocritical.  This goes right back to when this topic was first introduced at the end of the first chapter;

James 1:26 – If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.

The use of our tongue in religious exercises should influence the use of our tongues in common exercises.  As is always the case the eternal should impact the temporal.

We are taught to think of the use we make of our tongues in religion and in the service of God, and by such a consideration to keep it from cursing, censuring, and every thing that is evil on other occasions: . . .  How absurd is it that those who use their tongues in prayer and praise should ever use them in cursing, slandering, and the like! If we bless God as our Father, it should teach us to speak well of, and kindly to, all who bear his image. That tongue which addresses with reverence the divine Being cannot, without the greatest inconsistency, turn upon fellow-creatures with reviling brawling language. It is said of the seraphim that praise God, they dare not bring a railing accusation. And for men to reproach those who have not only the image of God in their natural faculties, but are renewed after the image of God by the grace of the gospel: this is a most shameful contradiction to all their pretensions of honouring the great Original.  Matthew Henry

"my brethren"
He is speaking to brethren.  We are susceptible to such inconsistencies.

"these things ought not so to be"
It is not right.  There are no grounds for railing outburst against others.  This is not to dismiss the reasoned, necessary, and humble rebuking of those who have sinned in the heaven sanctioned context of church discipline.

One of the sure evidences of the cursing of men is the refusal to channel the complaint through the proper structure. (Matthew 18:15-18)  Relationship problems are to be dealt with in private with an eye to reconciliation.  When a party is being implacable the private dispute is to be moved to a wider circle of witnesses (two or three) and if reconciliation still cannot be achieved then and only then is it publicly addressed before the church.  This is a Biblically mandated structure.  It is designed to protect everyone from the ad hominem (appealing to a person’s feelings rather than the intellect) attacks of those who digress to denounce the brethren.  Refusal to address issues in this context and by this pattern is a sure sign of one who desires to bless God out of one side of their mouth and curse men out of the other.

May our blessing God with our tongue result in a charitable spirit toward the brethren lest our religion be found vain.
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