August 13, 2005

Love Is Not Rude (2)

Scripture Reading — 1 Cor. 13:5a; James 3:1-12

“Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” — James 3:10

The apostle Paul says to Christians, “do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29). Rudeness is certainly one forbidden form of unwholesome talk.

We are inclined to be rude to people because, according to the apostle James, we have a tongue problem! James says, “with the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing” (James 3:9-10). Our insulting, demeaning, rude talk can and does damage people’s sense of self-worth, resulting in tremendous emotional damage, sometimes for a lifetime. We are deceiving ourselves if we think we can praise God, and, at the same time, hurt with our talk men, women, and children whom he has created in his image. Put another way, “anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen” (1 John 4:20).

So, what are we to do with our tongue problem? We must acknowledge that no human being can tame the tongue, but “nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Once we confess Jesus as our Savior, God pours out his love into our hearts. Slowly and often painfully, his love enables us to put away unwholesome talk (like rudeness), and speak only “what is helpful for building others up.” 


O God, tame my tongue, so that I may only speak what builds others up in faith, hope, and love. In Jesus’ name. Amen


Devotion topics: Christianity, Discipleship