A clergy friend shared a screen shot of her church’s FaceBook post announcing a free breakfast at her church. It was a picture of a fried egg sitting on a piece of toast. The invitation to join was prominent in the graphic. Did I mention that this was an invitation to a free breakfast?
The screenshot included the first comment someone made. They offered their version of constructive criticism (I suppose). The comment read, “I do not like that egg.”
Did I mention that this was for a free breakfast?
Why people need to spit in someone’s cornflakes is beyond me. We have all forgotten the advice of our grandmothers, who taught us that if we don’t have something nice to say, perhaps we should simply be quiet.
The world feels entitled to express every kind of opinion right now, and yes, I am aware that what I just wrote is my opinion. So let’s talk about God’s opinion, okay?
Our passage from James this morning pretty much says it all:
James 1 (Common English Bible)
Welcoming and doing the word
19 Know this, my dear brothers and sisters: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to grow angry.20 This is because an angry person doesn’t produce God’s righteousness. 21 Therefore, with humility, set aside all moral filth and the growth of wickedness, and welcome the word planted deep inside you—the very word that is able to save you.
Quick to listen.
Slow to speak.
Slow to grow angry.
We would do well to heed these words, friends. God has planted his word deep inside us. If our speech goes against that word, perhaps we should just keep our opinions to ourselves and hold our tongues.
22 You must be doers of the word and not only hearers who mislead themselves. 23 Those who hear but don’t do the word are like those who look at their faces in a mirror. 24 They look at themselves, walk away, and immediately forget what they were like. 25 But there are those who study the perfect law, the law of freedom, and continue to do it. They don’t listen and then forget, but they put it into practice in their lives. They will be blessed in whatever they do.
That’s quite the assignment, isn’t it? If you have learned that God is love, then you must love ALL his people. If you have learned from his word that everyone has sinned and fallen short of his glory, then you must be patient with others who sin….just as God is patient with your sin. If God’s word instructs us to not judge others, then perhaps we should let God be the judge and leave the condemning words to Jesus.
26 If those who claim devotion to God don’t control what they say, they mislead themselves. Their devotion is worthless.27 True devotion, the kind that is pure and faultless before God the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their difficulties and to keep the world from contaminating us.
This is great food for thought for us today. If we claim devotion to God, we MUST control what we say. We need to be doers of the incredible and radical word of God, not just readers/hearers of it. True devotion is proved when we care for the marginalized. True devotion is pure and faultless. True devotion practices what it preaches.True devotion is the alignment of our spoken (and posted) words to the will and purpose of God.
Where is God calling you to do his word today?
Welcome the Word by Michelle Robertson