As per usual, one of my goals this year is to read the whole bible. While I need to read little bits of scripture daily to deepen my faith, I also think it will benefit me to read the whole thing. I’ve started at the beginning several times saying this will be the time I make it, however somewhere between Kingdoms and Chronicles I lose my focus and quit. Last year or maybe 2 years ago, I decided to start with the Gospels and felt so accomplished that I stopped there on that attempt. This year I’m going fully random, though. When I get the opportunity, I’m just going to read what I can when I can, hopefully making it easier to get through the hard parts.
The other day I had a few moments and was looking for a short epistle to read and came the letter of James. These 5 short chapters are so jammed packed with wisdom, I was shocked that I had never read it before or even really heard it talked about. I know all of the epistles are good and full of important teachings, but the concise and yet loving words of James really spoke to me.
My favorite part was the beginning of chapter 3 on controlling what we say. In this section, James reminds us how important our tongue is. Comparing it to an ember in a forest, that can set nature alight. Reminding us that with our mouth we say both blessings and curses, but we should strive with all our might to bridle our tongue and leave the curses behind. He finishes the sections with “Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.” With such vivid imagery and direct statements it’s not hard to understand his point.
This morning was a beautiful morning. I got up and said my prayers, drank my wonderful morning tea and started on my things to do. However, in the midst of all that John needed help with various things and wanted this or that and at some point, my joy in the day waned and I was getting upset. Not at John, he’s doing what he knows, but at Ian. It is a huge struggle in our household knowing the expectations of a 2 parent household. And it’s not that Ian doesn’t help out on his days off, he most definitely does, but he doesn’t always notice when mommy needs a break from John’s dinosaur stories or snack requests. This morning was no exception. It started with a semi loud reminder to John that I’m not the only parent home today who would love to play with him and when that didn’t get any attention I started throwing the punches with my tongue.
As usual afterwards, I felt complete regret. Ian is a hard worker and has a lot on his plate. I should not have communicated passive aggressively and I shouldn’t have said many of the things I said in my anger either. This passage from James came flooding back into my memory and I felt like all my previous prayers and the joy of my morning were tarnished, because I couldn’t bridle my mouth. If I had been direct and kind, asking if he could take care of John’s requests while I was doing a few things or encouraged their bonding by telling John how much Ian is looking forward to his next stegosaurus story, but instead I lashed out with my tongue.
Today control of our tongue, doesn’t simply stop with the words that come out of our mouth, but every text, email, even post we have the choice to bless or curse. Think about what you have been posting lately has it been good, useful and for others benefit? Or has it been complaining, mundane, or unchaste? I don’t want to say our path is more difficult than the apostles, but I do think we have more avenues of communication that we need to be aware of what we are putting out and the impact it has on those around us, so that in time we can become a spring that only puts out fresh water.