Like Peanut Butter and Jelly
This devotional was written by Leslie Snyder
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. — James 3:10
The advertisement on the box listed the different flavors of cream cheese available for purchase. Some seemed inviting, like cinnamon and brown sugar or garlic and herb. But, my eyes remained glued to the suggestion of mixed berry and chive. Confused, I read through the list again and still, the suggestion of mixing the sweet, refreshing taste of berries with the strong, herbal flavor of chive stopped me as my stomach began to churn. Some things naturally go together. For example, peanut butter and jelly make the classic sandwich, or chocolate chip cookies and milk come together for a most delicious treat. But, mixed berry and chive cream cheese? Who could stomach it?
The same is true about believers who praise the Lord with their words on Sunday morning, and then turn around and gossip about the latest news, share an indecent joke, or speak cruelly to their family members later on that week. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow understood the power of words when he said, “A torn jacket is soon mended, but hard words bruise the heart of a child.”
James is serious about the power of our words to destroy. He even goes so far to call the tongue, “a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” Friends, if we want to share our faith with those around us, we must use great caution with our words. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, “You must preach the gospel at all times, and if you must, use words.”
By the way, remember the mixed berry and chive cream cheese? I later realized that it was my own eyes misreading the punctuation. The advertisement offered both mixed berry cream cheese and chive cream cheese. The two, like blessing and cursing, obviously did not go together.
1. Listen to your own words. What do you hear more often, words of blessing that build up or words of cursing that tear down?
2. How can you today make a noticeable change in the way you use your words?