Our Hearts, Thoughts, and Tongues... and a Commitment to Bless
“With it [the tongue] we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water?” (James 3:9-11)
On a recent Sunday, we heard the lesson from Matthew where Jesus talked about the connection between our hearts and out mouths. “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart...” (Matthew 15:18a) There is a connection between our hearts, our thoughts, and our words. James is concerned about our tongues, and especially about what we might call our lack of integrity. With our tongues we bless the Lord and Father, and “with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God” (James 3:9) - i.e., our fellow human beings. James says that blessing and cursing should not come from the same mouth. (verse 10)
What if - for this week or for this month - we made a commitment to only bless?
When someone cuts you off in traffic or rides on your bumper, strive to say, “Whatever is going on for this person, Lord... bless him/her!”
If a new trial or challenge comes your way, say, “Thank you for this learning opportunity, Lord. Now, I beg you... bless me with your strength!”
When you notice that you are being hard on yourself... that you are, in effect, cursing yourself, say, “Lord, forgive me. Remind me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made in your image and likeness. Bless me with that knowledge.”
And when ordinary people or powerful leaders seem bent on violence and evil, pray in this way: “Lord, I pray that you would convert the hearts of those who are bent on evil and destruction, and turn their hearts of stone into hearts of compassion. And - while you are at it, Lord - convert my heart, too!”
If nothing else seems possible in the moment, perhaps we can blurt out, “O Lord, give me patience!”
Jesus and James are both teaching us that being an agent of blessing is the preferred path.
What if - for the next 7 or 30 or 365 days - we made a commitment to only bless?