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Should I Speak?

Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. Therefore put away all filthiness and rampant wickedness and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. James 1:19-21 If the internet has taught us anything, it is that everyone has an opinion and wants to share it loudly. We have a right to express our opinions however we want to (well, not exactly, it's all monitored and fact checked, so not completely). Even though we have a right, we need to consider this word in James: meekness. It asks us "If I have a right SHOULD I exercise it? Of this, and regarding our neighbor as above ourselves, Paul writes: “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24) When we speak, when we write, when we think, perhaps we should fact check ourselves: "Is this holding the name of the Lord Highly? Is this building up my neighbor, or is this merely drawing attention to my own inward desires?" How often, because we have an opinion, do we tear someone down, either outwardly (especially of those in power, or our political opponents), or at the very least harbor thoughts that those who follow Jesus never ought to entertain? How quickly do we ignite a wildfire with our tongues or fingertips because we blurt out whatever we're feeling at the moment, and then get others to do the same? We have the right, but do we ask ourselves this one important question: "though I have the right, SHOULD I speak, or should I keep my mouth shut and fingers still?" Let us never forget that everyone we meet, those in the media and entertainment and sports industries, and in those in the political arena are ALL made in the image of God almighty. Our tongues (and fingertips) should not give out curses, but merely blessings to those who are in the image of the Invisible God. The word says it, I believe it. I pray you do as well. James 3 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water. Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

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