Why Is He So Mean To Me?
(James 3:8 KJV) But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
I have thought a lot about this verse over the years and have tried to make my tongue the exception to the rule…but only to fail. This is frustrating because how can one live a holy life as the Lord said, “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1Peter KJV), when evil resides in their mouth? I either do not understand the word holy or I have a long way to go in taming something that according to our text is impossible to tame.
If the tongue is evil and cannot be tamed and yet I am told to be holy, then I must have the wrong understanding of holy. I wonder…is the tongue connected in some way to being holy? After all, the Lord would never ask us to do something that was impossible for us to do.
On the other hand, perhaps that unruly instrument in our mouth is used to keep us humble and on our knees asking forgiveness for our spoken transgression. Is that some of what the Lord meant when He said, “Be ye holy because I am holy?”
In the past when I have written on the subject of perception it had to do with how one looks at things. However, today my writing on the subject of perception has to do with what one hears…and that involves the tongue.
The fact is, what one hears goes through a significant screening process. If one has been wounded, rejected or mentally abused in the past their perception of a strong spoken word is different than one who has not suffered these things. In other words, to one a strong spoken word is a positive challenge while to another it is an arrow to the heart. Perhaps another part of being holy has to do with knowing the difference.
A few days ago I had an experience with an air conditioning service man who happens to be a very nice fellow and truly loves the Lord. Even though his personal service for me has always been great, I was not pleased with the service of one of the other employees of his company. I strongly stated my position in how displeased I was…not thinking of how it might affect him.
That night before I went to bed my wife told me that I had wounded this service man’s heart. As a matter of fact he had asked her, “Why is Mr. Dean so mean to me? One minute he is nice to me and the next minute he is mean to me.”
I could not sleep that night for thinking of how I had wounded this nice young service man even though I was not talking about his personal work. To get some measure of peace I finally came to the conclusion that it was not what I said, but his perception of what I said that wounded his heart. Even though I was not pleased with the service of his other employee I would never want to wound anyone’s heart.
Perhaps this is why Proverbs says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” In other words, the evil in one’s tongue can be used by choice to destroy a person while the same tongue can hurt another’s heart just as much with no harm intended…but by being unwise and undiscerning.
Help us to be more discerning and wise when we speak. Help us to take into consideration the possibility of filters in another’s life. Help us to also take full responsibility for any wounds we have caused regardless of intent. I desire to be a light of hope and not a arrow of death.