What Comes Out of Your Spout?
Read James 3:9-12 (ESV)
With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. 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.
According to James, why is it wrong to speak poorly about others?
Imagine that it is a typical Sunday morning. You go to church and while there, you pray for your friends who you hear are going through a hard time. During worship, you sing and praise God, thanking Him for who He is and everything He’s done for you. On your way out the door, you offer some encouragement to the pastor, thanking him for his wonderful preaching of God’s Word. You smile and tell everyone you meet in the parking lot to “have a great week.”
But once you get in the car, you look at your spouse and say, “Ugh, did you hear Bob up there singing? I don’t know why they let him stay on the worship team when he can’t carry a tune.” Your spouse agrees and then fills you in on some gossip about another church member that you can’t confirm is even true. You call them an idiot for getting involved in the shady business you aren’t even sure they are actually involved in.
You go out for lunch and the waitress makes a mistake on your order so you chew her out, complain to the manager, and grumble to your spouse about her. Later in the afternoon, your phone rings and it’s an old friend. You spend some of the Lord’s Day catching up on the lives of mutual friends which honestly, really just amounts to gossiping.
If you read this and thought, “ouch,” I understand. If we are honest, most of us are guilty of using our mouths to gossip, insult, and complain about others. But when we consider how we use that same mouth to bless and praise the Lord, we feel especially convicted. At least, we should. After all, we are professing Christians who are being hypocritical.
This week, we’ve been reading in the book of James about how dangerous the tongue can be. It can spread destruction faster than a wildfire and is not easy to tame! Today, James points out just how wrong it is that we use our mouths to disparage other people. First, he points out that all other people are made in the image and likeness of God. That means that when we curse others, we are cursing God’s special creation!
Furthermore, James calls out the hypocrisy of doing this. How can we use our mouths to bless God one minute and then turn around, use the same mouth to belittle the people that God has made. He said how can good words and bad words come out of the same heart? He argues that it can’t. Instead, the mouth exposes what is really and truly in the heart.
Remember what Jesus said, “The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of the evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
Friend, if you started to pour water from a pitcher and discovered that it was contaminated, wouldn’t you assume that all the water in the pitcher is bad as well? After all, what comes out of the spout indicates what is inside. How then, can we claim to be filled with the Spirit if we continually overflow with evil, hurtful speech even if we just used the same mouth to praise and bless God? What kind of speech comes out of your spout?
Lord, I confess that I have used my mouth to bless and praise You but also to belittle and disparage people who are precious to You and made by You in Your image. Please forgive me for my hypocrisy. Fill my heart to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit and help me to yield my tongue of flesh to You and not myself. Amen.