In our small group we decided to read the book of James this week and discuss things that stuck out to us. The questions we are answering are: 1.What spoke to you, and 2. what are you going to do about it?
James 1:12 "Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him. "
This is good and comforting news to me. My family has been through so much. More than I ever thought we could handle. In the hardest times, we clung to Jesus to carry us through. We were forever changed. We are stronger from it. There are reasons, still unknown to me, why it all happened. But God has used it for good and to bring glory to him. When I am hurting, due to the lingering effects of injustice, I will read over this verse in an attempt to find comfort in Him.
James 1:26 "Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.
James 3:9-12 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water"
I took note of this as well. It's not that I have a major struggle with my mouth. But I have found myself in situations where I may have let my venting to friends turn into a bit of gossipy thing. I don't want any part of that. I want to be a person who says good things about people, in front of them and behind their back. If I need to share my hurts and frustrations with a friend, I want to do it in a way that would not be hurtful to anyone else. I know this doesn't seem like a big deal to everyone, but I want it to be a big deal to me. God has been convicting me on this. I thank Him for making me uncomfortable in situations that aren't pleasing to Him. It's not irony that soon after He started opening my eyes to the 'little things' in this matter, one good friend wrote a blog about this very subject. Then, around the same time, another good friend started feeling convicted about the same thing. I love how God works like that!
Another thing that I started thinking when I read this is about how some people have hurt me by failing to reign in their own tongue. Loved ones who consider themselves Christians have said off base, unacceptable things about me and my family to others. That is something that is between them and God. I don't want to judge them on what they do. But I don't want to be like them. I want God to help me to forgive because I want to move and and no longer give them the power to hurt me.
James 4:1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?
This goes along with the other things that stuck out to me. It relates to my previous paragraph because it explains why someone might say stupid things to or about me. It stems from their own problems that they haven't dealt with. It also explains why I sometimes find myself doing the same thing- because I'm messed up in some ways and there are always going to be personal battles that need to be dealt with in order to make me shine in the image of God.
Also, there tends to be quarreling in a home with 4 kids, ranging from ages 13 to 4. We all have some "desires that battle within" us. If you look at the bottom line of most arguments, it really does come down to this. I don't know what I'm going to do about this information, but knowing this and seeing it come straight out of the bible might make it easier to understand some of the quarreling that happens. Maybe we can start looking at the unmet need and battle with in each of the kids when they are having an out-of-control time in their life.