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Ten Ways to love: Accusations

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The second statement in our ‘Ten ways to love’ series is this:

Anger

Anger: an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured. (Photo credit: baejaar)

2.  Speak without accusing.

The verse:  James 1:19:  Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath:

I find this one very difficult because it’s so hard to keep accusation out at times.   Because it’s more difficult to see my own stuff, I’m afraid I will have to use what I see in others as examples here.  I am not casting the first stone, however, because I can accuse with the best of them at times.

The backhanded question

A certain person is quite good at speaking with accusation behind seemingly innocent words, usually in the form of questions.  “Why is the front door open?”  translates to “Why didn’t you shut the door, do you want to heat the whole world?”   Implied (and often spoken after the statement) is the hard work trying to earn money to pay the bills while everyone else wastes money like it grows on trees.  This is speaking with accusation.

I saw ‘evidence’ and, I know you’re guilty!

Sometimes, we speak with accusing when we haven’t received all the information needed.  This one seldom happens a LOT in relationships.  If you’ve ever caught some of the Maury Povich type shows, you see people coming on with accusation oozing out of their pores!  I saw a text on your phone, so you MUST be having an affair.  “I only slept with 5 people, but I know you’re the dad.  So why aren’t you stepping up to the plate to take care of YOUR child?”   “I saw you look at her, you don’t love me!”    And so on ad nauseam!!!  This way comes by jumping to conclusions and attacking rather than waiting for more information and strangling him in his sleep DISCUSSING it in an adult manner.

How could you?

Sometimes, in a similar vein to above, we assume another’s motives.  It’s entirely possible we’re wrong, but we think we can read minds, so….  Another person I know seems to be able to find a negative motive in most anything.  I probably attribute good motives more than I should, but I’d rather give a person a chance than to assume  wrongly.  People have different love languages (and other filters), and sometimes they mean well, even if the results are not what they intended.  For example, when my husband does something for me, like going to work every day or fixing a problem, he is saying, “I love you!”   Because I did not understand this for a few years, I attributed wrong motives and didn’t believe he loved me.  I was wrong and caused a lot of heartache to myself and him.   Sometimes we can just accept people, and their motives, at face value.

A Person (Man) exclaiming something

A Person (Man) exclaiming something (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Political Debates gone wrong

If you’ve ever watched a debate, and I use that term loosely.  How often do you hear accusations flying?  Uh, yeah, all the time!  Rather than defending one’s own take on the issues, deflection techniques muddy the waters.  Personally, I would rather hear what a candidate believes than the mistakes of his/her opponent.   A person that can stick with the issues and not get sucked into the vortex of distraction gets my respect.  This type of conversation (no matter who is doing the ‘debating’) should keep the focus on the person speaking and not the other person through accusation and idiocy.

The Children

We do this to children all the time.  They bring us a flower and we yell at them for picking it.  They want to hug us, but we accuse them of ‘bugging’ us or being to clingy.

The rest of the story

If you read the next verse in James, it says, ”

20 For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”

 

I memorized this scripture many years ago and use it often to remind me that my anger, accusations, judgments, etc. do not work God’s righteousness.  In fact, they often get in the way and turn others away from God.  In order to show love, it is necessary to tame that tongue and give thought to our words before we allow them out of our mouth.  No one is perfect, but sometimes that extra second of thought will save some heartache for all.

Have you ever jumped to conclusions and wrongly accused someone?   Have you rightly accused them, but to the relationship’s detriment due to the way you handled it?  Have you attributed negative motives to someone and accused them by word or deed?  Do you distract through accusation in a fight, debate, discussion, argument?  Have you brushed a child aside and spoken with accusation to them?  What are some other ways we speak with accusing?

Do you have a blender family?

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I chose the lesson in Ministry, even though it was the midweek lesson, because I wanted to get them talking about ministering to one another.  As a group of 7th – 8th graders (no 9th at this time),  you can imagine what they can be like at times.  Everyone is fair game, and they often think it’s funny to trash one another.  When we have newer people come in, it really becomes a problem.  Each year we work on this and make progress.  Then the year turns over and new students come up while others leave and the whole process starts over again.  I expect that, but I want them to learn to love and minister to one another.  I want them to look beyond certain behaviors and recognize that the disruptive student may have all kinds of things going on in his life.  I want them to welcome even the unlovely into the class.  I want them to become aware of ministry opportunities right at home, and I want them to see others as Jesus sees them.  I want them to get that vertical relationship going so they can better their horizontal ones.  I want….  I think God wants this too, but, like God, I recognize that it’s all a process.  I am content with baby steps at this stage, but I always want to be pushing for more growth while I have them.  They are the ‘plants’ I am responsible for watering and feeding once a week (and beyond).

 

I’m not sure I’ve ever put that in words quite that way before.  As I said, this is a goal, but I would love to see progress in their spiritual (and other) lives before they move on to the next stage of the game – those high school years — gulp!

 

That said, my overarching thing was this:   Why is it so difficult to minister to family (or “family”)? 

 

Now for a short leap into a different aspect of the topic.  My daughter and I took my husband out for dinner tonight for Father’s Day.  As we’re all sitting there, family stuff happens.  You know what I mean, the tongues come out and feelings get hurt.  We don’t mean to hurt one another, but how often we do!!!  We are so kind to strangers, but not those we are close to.  What’s up with that?  {Anne and Ron over at Freedomborn posted a great poem on this subject:  Our Family)

 

Step into my parlor. . .
(original image from morguefile.com)

This is the image that popped in my mind as I listened to the chatter at our table (and of a family sitting near us).  Our families are dumped in the blender.  Our tongues are the blades.  We get together and start slicing, often in the name of “just kidding” or trying to get a laugh, and soon there’s blood and hurt feelings everywhere.  Of course that leaves us with open wounds, maybe not even caused by the person in question, and we add defensiveness to the mix.  I hope your family is not like this, but I’m guessing there are moments (or certain members) when this happens.  It leads to more than hurt feelings.  It leads to broken relationships (horizontal and vertical).  We often justify it or pass it off as just family, but it is wrong.

 

The Bible has a lot to say about the tongue:

  • James 1:26 If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. James 1:25-27 (in Context)
  • James 3:5 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! James 3:4-6 (in Context)
  • James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. James 3:5-7 (in Context)
  • James 3:8 But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3:7-9 (in Context)

 

 

I found this on facebook, and thought it fit well with this topic. 

Back to our original topic.  While my students may jostle each other and things like that at times (esp. boys), the real problem is in the tongue.  My own tongue is not innocent either.  No matter how hard I try to bridle it (or surrender it to God to bridle), it still sometimes slips out of it’s harness and strikes.

 

My point:

Part of ministry is in learning to minister kindness in our words to others.  It’s allowing God to control our tongues and thinking before we speak.  It’s remembering that it’s pretty hard to meet someone’s need when we’re stabbing them with the blade of our tongue.  Kindness is something we should use EVERYWHERE.  Not just with strangers, kindness, encouragement, healing words work with those we are familiar with and love too.

 

Do you minister with kindness even to your family or those you are close to?  Is your tongue a run-a-way blender blade, wreaking havoc on those in it’s path?  Do you have ways that help you remember to be kind to all others?  Anyone have any good teaching ideas for this age group?        For those who write – do your words spread healing and ministry or is your pen like a double edged sword?  Have you struggled with this in the past and found success in learning to minister with kindness, even in your speech or written word?

 

I know none of my readers have problems with this issue, but I’m guessing you all know people who do, so you can understand this post 😀

Blessings and a healing tongue to all of you  .  .   .

Responsible Speech

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For this post, I will borrow from facebook.  You know how the ‘sayings’ float around, often coming back time and again, especially if good.  These sayings, that I wish I could attibute to someone, are about our words.  Words are very important, and they can make deeper wounds than physical harm can.

 

1.  Don’t mix bad words with your bad mood.  You’ll have many opportunities to change a mood, but you’ll never get the opportunity to replace the words you spoke.  Mhar

How often do we allow a bad mood, excessive tiredness, and other life happenings to give us an excuse for letting loose with our tongue?  These are the times when our tongues are most likely laced with poison as they strike out at any convenient target.  Does it make us feel better?  Maybe momentarily, but then the guilt kicks in.

~*~

2.  Before you speak . . .     T  H  I  N  K

This is a tongue

This is a tongue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

T — is it true?

H — is it helpful?

I — is it inspiring?

N — is it necessary?

K — is it kind?                                 ~ unknown

~*~

Our words need to be run through a filter before exiting our lips.  This is especially true when we are stressed out.  This THINK acronym is a great filter to use.  The thing is that we must run it through each letter.  It may be true, but is it necessary at this moment in time?  It is only as we think through the comment and make sure it needs to be said at this moment that we can tame the deadly tongue.

~*~

The Bible has a lot to say about the tongue:

 

tongue

tongue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

—->”….3Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.   4Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.  5Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!   6And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.  7For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:   8But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poisonJames 3:3-10

—->Death and life are in the power of the tongue,  and those who love it will eat its fruits.”   Proverbs 18:21

—->A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.”  Proverbs 15:1            One of the most difficult times to give a soft answer is in the midst of an angry exchange.

~*~

The Bible is prolific about the tongue – it is a dangerous member and difficult to control.  I will leave you with this final verse:

“Set a watch, O LORD, before my mouth; keep the door of my lips.”  Psalm 141:4

~*~

How about you?  Do you THINK before speaking?  Do you set a guard on your lips, especially when stress comes to call?  Do you have any tips or tricks (or quotes) to share that might help others tame the tongue?

~*~

I am certainly guilty many times of speaking words that thrust daggars into the hearts of others.  Once spoken, an apology is great, but it never really takes away those rash words or the scar from the wound.

Father, I surrender my tongue, my words, my attitude into your hands.  I ask that you would set a watch before my mouth and keep the door of my lips, that my words would bring peace and healing to those who hear and not harm.  Remind me to think before unleashing the power of my tongue, and then to remain silent 90% of the time.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

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