James 3:1-2 NASB
“Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well.”
So here we have James, the half brother of Jesus, writing to Jewish Christians, who are “scattered abroad”. The topic of course, is the words that come out of our mouths and these words are words that originate from within our minds and hearts, and they can also be in the format of the written word, just like I am currently writing in this post.
Most of us know what “stumbling in many ways” means from personal experience. This “stumbling” can and often does happen because of a variety of reasons or causes. A lack of sensitivity, speaking before thinking, animosity or distain towards someone else, self centered pride, uttering half truths or untruths for selfish objectives, to name but a very few.
But James, in this Epistle, doesn’t just leave us there. I realize that I could easily quote the whole of James Chapter 3 but because of other considerations, I’m going to just cut to the flip side that James points us to.
James 3:13-18 NASB
“Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behaviour his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.“
Can you imagine how great a reduction there would be, in the current endless streams of negativity, that would occur within all of our various multimedia formats, where all of our personal interactions with one another, including the words of our elected leaders, at all levels of government, were automatically removed, if the following motives or sources where self evident?
- bitter jealousy
- selfish ambition in our hearts
- lying about the truth
Can you imagine hearing or watching the news without any spin, without any lying, without any animosity being spoken?
I don’t know about you but I used to enjoy watching the news, but I don’t anymore.
I’m tired of the name calling, tired of the blame being shifted to someone or something else, tired of the constant torrent of half truths or misinformation and tired of the claims of non-accountability. I just can’t take at face value, hardly anything that I am presented with on the news anymore. And it doesn’t really matter which particular broadcast media you look at, be it CBS, NBC, CBC, CNN or FNC, because they all do the same thing, they all seem to have a particular spin, what we’re really talking about is a matter of how much or what degree they all do it.
But does it stop there? Are they the sole culprits? No they’re not.
It’s all well and good to lay the blame for misinformation or outright lies at the door of the various media outlets, as them being the disseminators of “False or Fake News”, but the vast majority of our elected representatives all do the same thing. Side step responsibility, utter half truths or disseminate misinformation designed to throw the opposing party in a bad light and them in a good light. There are of course exceptions, but they are becoming increasing rare. Speaking the truth, without any spin, letting the chips fall where they may and admitting and accepting responsibility, where exactly does that get you these days?
And what are the positive attributes that James draws our attention to?
- pure (no need for filtering)
- peaceable (as in not hostile)
- reasonable (as fair as can be accomplished for all concerned)
- full of mercy and good fruits
- without hypocrisy
- the seed whose fruit is righteousness, is sown in peace, by those who make peace
James tells us the source of the 1st list and the source of the 2nd list. Considering that even the “righteous” can and do stumble, one doesn’t have to be a brain surgeon to see where this distorted line of earthly, natural reasoning, is rapidly taking us.
I know that this earthly, natural reasoning, has always been around, but there used to be a balance in place, by some, where value was placed on integrity, honesty, common decency and standing by your word. Where love of country took precedence over personal political ambition. That balance is quickly eroding and is all but gone.
History tells us that the Roman Empire was actually conquered from within. Sure they were attacked from without, but the biggest damage, the breaking up damage, the dismantling damage, came from within.
I’m 75 years old, truth is that I probably don’t have all that much time left. I grieve for what I see, I grieve for what is being destroyed, I grieve for what is currently being torn apart. I always thought that we Christians were supposed to be a witness to God’s glory.
This is not God’s glory.
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!