”And the tongue is a fire, the very word of iniquity; the tongue is set among our members as that which defiles the entire body, and sets on fire the course of our life, and is set on fire by hell.” James 3:6
When I was a child, my mom always told me to tell the truth when I was in trouble; that lying would bring on even more punishment. She also warned me that carelessly spoken words were like someone standing on a hill in a brisk wind and emptying a feather pillow. One might retrieve some of the feathers, but most were victims of the capriciousness of the wind. All of us have experienced the pain of thoughtless words directed toward us. Usually, there is no defense that can that can completely erase the impact to our character, and the way others see us. In some cases, ruined reputations are the casualties of untamed tongues.
In the days following the November election, verbal arrows of accusations flew in all directions. Serious charges of election fraud in many cases were not taken seriously, so Americans’ frustration grew into an inferno of innuendoes from both parties. This dissension seems not to have faded; in fact the words directed at those who supported the President have grown more venomous. Toxic character assassination fills the mainstream media whose commentators lob cannonballs of noxious opinions nightly. Terms like “reprogramming” and censoring people’s opinions became nightly fodder on the news.
Yesterday, the former leader of the US Senate called those who rallied for President Trump a “mob” intent on storming the U.S. Capitol. He maligned and falsely accused American citizens—some eighty million strong of intending harm, most of whom belong to his party. He allowed the lie to continue about those who attended the rally to exercise their Constitutional right to assemble. Most of those were ordinary, tax-paying citizens. The fact that rabble-rousers were already breaching the Capitol before Trump supporters arrived did not make the news until much later.
Words like “ insurrection”, “violent attack”, and “rioters” immediately were incendiary bombs meant to marginalize Trump supporters before anyone knew what had really happened. The wagging tongues of the media and many in Congress served to label good and honest Americans as undesirable and needy of re-education.
James wrote that the tongue is untamed and full of deadly poison, that the tongue is the outlet for a heart that is jealous and full of selfish ambition that produces disorder and every evil thing.
I never thought I would see this rhetoric directed at fellow Americans. I am ashamed of many of our politicians, leaders, and others who have added fuel to an already blazing fire, rather than quenching it with the wisdom from above James describes in his letter. That wisdom is first peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy, unwavering and without hypocrisy. If more Americans planted peaceable seeds instead of fueling the fire of destruction, America would flourish.
Three books in “The Scarlet Thread Series”by J L Smith tell the stories of biblical characters like Joseph who was falsely accused, but survived and flourished with God’s help. They are available on Amazon, B&N, and Xulon Press.
Pray our nation would return to following His wisdom.