James 3:11 NIV
11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
Matthew 5:21-26 NIV
21 “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister, will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. 25 “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way, or your adversary may hand you over to the judge, and the judge may hand you over to the officer, and you may be thrown into prison. 26 Truly I tell you, you will not get out until you have paid the last penny.
When we fast it is intended to give us space to reflect on our lives and not only pray that God would be revealed but also to be introspective, to think about what in our lives needs adapting. One of the things that is worthy of reflection is the way in which we interact with the ten commandments. Let's take a look at one of those now.
Let’s take a wild stab in the dark, and assume that most of us haven’t killed anything bigger than a bug. Or maybe a nasty looking spider. (So, no actual stabbing in the dark. Good.) But maybe there’s more to this commandment than the simple instruction of not physically killing another human being. There’s something in the concept of killing that still exists in our everyday life, and it’s to do with our attitude towards others. In Matthew 5:21-22 (NLT) Jesus expands on the idea of killing: ‘You have heard that our ancestors were told, “You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.” But I say if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment. If you call someone an idiot you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.’ Thats some really serious stuff. God tells us that life is sacred (because he created it), but He's also telling us not to destroy someone by our words either. So when we go about our lives, when we engage in a bit of office gossip, when we cruelly label someone or make fun of them, God hears. So when we talk like that about a person we are violating God's commandment because to Him, it’s a form of killing.
Read James 3:8-11 and Matthew 5:21-26. Reflect around the language you use with friends, family, and colleagues. Be in particular focused on the words you are using today. Which of your words bring ‘life’, and which do you need to stop before they bring ‘death’?
Father, thank you for your guidance in my life, and for how you look over every aspect of me life. Help me with my words and my thoughts about people – I want to build people up, not tear them down. Help me to guard my tongue, and ultimately give you glory in all I do. Amen.