If the pen is mightier than the sword, is the press more powerful than an army? If a picture is worth a thousand words, are humans all artists at work and our mouths the brushes used to create a work of art; or, sadly, maybe too often graffiti?


“(The tongue) is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” (James 3:8-11)

James blames the tongue. Today’s advocates would argue with him; “tongue’s don’t kill people, people kill people!” or something like that. But James is ahead of that thinking, which is why, in verse 11, he asks the question about water from a spring. What comes out of one’s mouth indicates what’s going on inside that person.

Look at the powerful interaction between Jesus and Peter in Mark 8, Jesus had just explained to his followers that he must be antagonized by the religious leaders, killed and rise on the third day, then in verse 33-34:

 “… and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. But when Jesus turned and looked at his disciples, he rebuked Peter. ‘Get behind me, Satan!’ he said. ‘You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.’”

It doesn’t say Peter cursed or was rude with his words, but what was coming out of him was not from God’s perspective, but from his own. Peter tries to get Jesus to do it his way (the right way he is sure) and meets the most powerful rebuke Jesus is recorded giving; calling Peter the devil.

Don’t let mere human concerns; a selfish perspective, flow out of us to manipulate others. Let’s not graffiti each other to get what we feel is right. Instead, listen to Jesus who says in the next verses, may your words show that you deny yourself, grab the soap to wash your mouth out with, and follow me. Now that’s a new and powerful picture.

By John Riley
Junior High Pastor

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