Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mud Slinging

I was thinking I could move on to the next verses in James 4, but God had other plans. Yeah. Love it when that happens and yes, it is ironic given the topic of the next set of verses! But for today, this is where God wants me to camp out and meditate on truth.

 Don't bad-mouth each other, friends. It's God's Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk. You're supposed to be honoring the Message, not writing graffiti all over it. God is in charge of deciding human destiny. Who do you think you are to meddle in the destiny of others?  James 4:11-12  The Message (MSG)
This translation puts a slant on these verses that I had not considered - maybe ever. The Message is not a word by word translation from the original Hebrew or Arabic text, but it does a pretty good job of putting a current language and life slant on God's holy word.  When I memorize scripture, it is not from this translation, but God does use it to speak to me. My old faithful Bible is the side by side KJV/NIV that I have read thru, worked thru and grown with for the last 10 years. It is tattered. It is worn. Like me, it shows it's age just a bit. The thought of getting a new Bible makes my stomach hurt. Thank goodness for online resources!  In the past, my life application of these two verses focused on this truth...God is God, I am not God, let God handle the stuff in the lives of other believers that is His to handle in the first place and lets have me continue to work on keeping my focus on me. Good stuff. All true. Not at all what jumped off the page and into my heart on this cool July morning.
Today this was my take away. When I use my mouth as a weapon against other sisters and brothers in Christ, it is not that person but my Lord that takes the beating.  When I behave badly, it muddies the view and understanding other people have of my Savior. When I allow my words to belittle, undermine, devalue or embarrass another  then I do not reflect the love, mercy and compassion that God has given me. As God transforms my heart, that should be reflected in all area's of my life including how I treat, speak to and do life with others on the journey to Christ likeness. Will it be perfect - probably not. But the more I honor God in this area, then the more my character will reflect His.
So maybe just this once I will adapt another verse just a bit . . .  "And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your WORDS (thoughts) on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. SPEAK (Think) about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." Phil 4:8 NLV

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