If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. James 1:26
It is almost funny if it was not so sad, how much time is spent dissing others. Sometimes it is done in a joking manner but for the most part if the intent is not malicious… it is just to make oneself seem bigger or better. There is a tombstone that reads… On May 21st Miss XXX finally held her tongue. The old saying “If you don’t have anything nice to say, sit by me.” was immortalized in the movie Steel Magnolias. What causes people to talk badly about another? For some, you would think there was to be awarded an Olympic Medal for this sport and they were in training to receive the GOLD! But does it have to be this way?
I think often of something I read a long time ago. “Everyone does the best that they are capable of doing, at this moment!” Through education, it is possible to learn new ways to handle a situation. Through relationships and caring, it is possible to feel more empowered and confident, so putting others down to make myself feel “better” is no longer necessary. Seeking to understand before seeking to be understood, changes my attitude and opens me to new ideas and an opportunity to grow.
I know that no one including me, is perfect…. EVER. God would not have had to send His Son to die a horrendous death if I could attain perfection. I do know that James had it right… there is no religious person who can defend belittling or demeaning another. What a wonderful world it would be if the only things that ever escaped my mouth were positive and uplifting words. How would my day progress if all I ever heard was affirming and encouraging and supportive phrases from the people with whom I live and work? The amount of work everyone was doing would triple. The cooperation amongst team members would make territory issues disappear because the team would be accomplishing the job before them jointly. Ah, what a wonderful world it would be! So this Utopia is only possible if it starts with me. When I only speak encouragement… when I don’t allow others to undermine anyone in my presence… then and only then will my religion be worthy of the Savior who died for me.
Lord, help me keep my tongue busy praising You, lifting others up and encouraging those who suffer. Looking for the good in others will indeed be the best mining I can ever do.