Baseball takes up (it seems) at least 4 days out of our week. We have 4 kids on 3 different teams, and I am coaching the youngest 2 (on the same team). Needless to say we're exhausted. It's great, though, because, like no other way, I'm able to be out in the community, and see it as a great opportunity for the Kingdom (I pray that God uses me here!). Yet, as I watched a practice yesterday, I noticed something that broke my heart. Church folk can be some of the biggest gossips. And I won't get in to what was said, but I heard church folk gossiping. It wasn't done in a hushed tone (still not a great thing to do, the Bible says much about gossip), names were brought out in to the open (I knew of some of the situations and personally knew some of the people mentioned), and I could tell that it made other parents in the area, some of who may or may not have been people from other churches or even have been unchurched, uncomfortable.
The body language and the mood of the area changed. They were not people I knew, so I bit my tongue, and prayed for them, as well as if the Lord would give me an opportunity to speak my mind (He didn't, and all were spared my beating people over the head with scripture, which also wouldn't have been helpful!). Instead, I tried to talk to other parents about our kids, and what was going on on the field, and to another parent whose son I am coaching in T-ball. Why am I bringing this up? Because we're always scattering seeds everywhere we go, whether we want to or not, or whether we realize it or not. In this case, I noticed bitterness was getting sown. I noticed it wasn't what the Gospel brings, but just the opposite; where the Gospel is meant to bring Obedience, Love and Unity, it wrought bitterness, anger, and anxiety. The course of the conversation seemed to center on what wasn't working, what was wrong, and the tastes of what was happening. Yet, when we speak, it should not be about others. It should be about the greatness and faithfulness of our God. James talks about the fire spread about by our tongue, and the great forests that could be set ablaze by it. Every time we open it up, we're sowing either fruit for the Kingdom or tares for the enemy. What are you sowing? When you open your mouth, at work, at home, or in public, do your words bring glory to God? Consider, if they don't, that we should always be praying for our thoughts, actions, and yes, words, to glorify God, everywhere we go. Ephesians 4:29-31 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. James 3: 1-18 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! 6 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. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 11 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.
Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?