Do you ever have those moments when you just want to curl up in ball and hide because you realize you are a huge hypocrite? If you’re human, you can relate. Well, the other day I had one of those moments while I was having a quiet time. I came across the verse, “If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless” (James 1:26). I instantly thought about the previous day when my husband, his family, and I went on a rafting trip. We went with a big rafting company, so to get us to the put-in spot, my family and I piled into a school bus with a bunch of strangers and headed up the Poudre Canyon. My husband is one of three sons, and these brothers can tend to run their mouths when they get together. Somehow they got on the topic of politics, and soon I was burying my face in embarrassment as my husband shouted some not-so-kind statements about the president for anyone within earshot to hear.
As I was reading this verse about controlling your tongue, I thought to myself, “Oh if only he would only read this verse, then he would know how what he did was so wrong, making his religion worthless…” on and on in my head until—BAM! Conviction hit me. I then remembered all the critical and hurtful things I said to him afterward just so he would know how much I disapproved of what he said. Was I controlling my tongue when I was giving my husband a piece of my mind? Absolutely not.
I wish I could say this is the only time this has ever happened, but it happens more than I would like to admit. When I read in the Bible about controlling the tongue or the use of foul language, I like to think I do a pretty good job because I don’t swear (that much!) But I think the heart of a verse like James 1:26 goes far beyond the culturally deemed curse words. God wants all our words to be full of love, even when we are upset with our husbands, children, co-workers, or the person on the other end of the line when we call our cable provider. Along with working on my tongue, I am asking the Lord to help me stay humble, realize when I am being a hypocrite, and grow. I find freedom from being judgmental when I remember how we all mess up and need God’s grace.
by Lauren Bratten
“The humble will be filled with fresh joy from the Lord.” Isaiah 29:19
Lord, help me stay humble. Show me your grace and help me extend that to others. Amen.