For the time has come for judgment, and it must begin with God’s household. And if judgment begins with us, what terrible fate awaits those who have never obeyed God’s Good News? And also, “If the righteous are barely saved, what will happen to godless sinners?”
1 Peter 4:17-18 NLT
We have a lot going on right now. We are in the middle of so much change that I can barely keep up with all of the moving parts. I received a call in the middle of the day yesterday while I was at work and answered some questions without my full attention being on the call. After hanging up, and after thinking about what was asked, I realized that I had made a mistake in what I had said.
“Liar! Liar!”, the voice cried out in my head, “I’ve got you now!”
The old me wanted to hide from the mistake and attempt to cover it up – covering me in guilt by calling me a liar because I misspoke in a moment of the day’s fever pitched drone of work, stress, etc. But there was another voice that spoke as well – convicting me that I needed to correct myself.
The enemy voice warned me that if I corrected myself, it would look to the other person like I’m a liar even though I would know by making the correction that I was in fact, being honest. That voice wanted me to find a way to look honest to the person while remaining a liar in my heart.
Yes, this is the struggle. These are the types of challenges we face when we’ve let our guard down and are distracted. I was quick to speak without really listening and thinking about something – and as a result, I found myself in a trap. And the trap was whether I cared what I looked like on the outside or whether I cared enough to do what was right.
My decision was made, I would correct the situation. But how do I handle it in the best way? Do I try to explain myself in detail? Do I dance and make an over compensating effort to clean it up? Or do I just admit, do I just apologize for the lie – yes, a lie is a lie whether spoken with ill intent or good intent. Truth is truth, false is lying.
So, no sugar coating is necessary. I just need to swallow this pill and learn to pay closer attention to what I’m saying. It’s almost like this tongue is hard to tame unless I’m focused and intent. Imagine that. I think that I’ve read something about that before.
Dear brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And among all the parts of the body, the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.
James 3:1-12 NLT