Theme of the Week: Receiving and Being a Blessing
Bible Verse: With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. James 3:9-12 NIV
James asks a pointed question: how can both curses and praises come from the same source? It’s like fresh water and salt water gushing from a single spigot – one helps things grow, and slakes thirst; the other makes things wither, and increases thirst. How can this be? It’s ludicrous. It’s a contradiction in terms.
But such is the paradox of our tongues. One minute we praise, the next curse. Thank, and then complain. Speak life-giving encouragement, and then utter heart-crushing criticism. We bless, and we curse. We’re fresh water, then salt.
This is weightier than many of us realize. Words matter. The childish taunt, “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me,” is a brazen lie. Words are what hurt us most. Find anyone struggling to believe they matter, and underneath that is the trauma of misspoken words: someone somewhere told them in so many words that they were worthless and useless. Or the opposite. Find someone walking in quiet confidence and abiding hopefulness, and behind that is lifetime of well-measured words.
Dads, two things here. First, resolve to be the “perfect man” James describes, using your tongue to praise, to encourage, to thank, to bless. It doesn’t mean you can never rebuke or speak a hard truth. It just means that your children should not witness or live under a spigot that one minute gushes fresh water, the next salt.
Second, teach your children to do likewise. Teach them and show them the power of words. Train your sons and daughters to speak words of life. I love you. I’m sorry. Thank you. You give me joy. This is the stuff of the heart.
Here’s a way to start. Share with your children this passage in James. Talk with them about the power of words. Then together choose to speak today only “fresh water” words. And watch what your fresh water words make grow.
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