I like to think of the character of Jesus as like a diamond with many faces. We are multi-faceted creatures, but unlike Jesus, we have good sides which we like to turn towards other people so that they can see how nice we are and dark sides, which we keep hidden and only explore in the dark night of our beings. Very few adults-children are different, generally-are quite what they seem. This may seem like regional stereotyping, but I've always seen the apostle James as the 'Yorkshire man' in his group! He comes out with the truth whether it hurts or not and you know he will continue to do that! It may at times feel offensive, but you know that he is true as a die and you can respect him for that! The tongue, James states, is a revealer of the heart. Have you been caught in the situation where you are in church, singing praises to God, but in your head you are also feeling upset and hating someone, maybe someone who is in that same worshipping group as you? There was a large group of older teenagers at my church when I was 18, praise the Lord, and so sometimes a couple would start a relationship. However, it might be intense and short-lived and then they would come back to the group, but for weeks after our worship together struggled, it didn't take wing like it usually did. There were divisive issues within the group. James in his day noted that pious Jews would repeat three times a day the 'Shemoneh Esreh'-a round of eighteen prayers-and yet they could switch from repeating aloud those prayers to suddenly cursing someone in the street. I've known people with whom I've been in a car and they have switched from friendly chat with me to swearing and gesticulating at some passing motorist. It is one of life's hardest and plainest duties to see that the tongue does not contradict itself, but speaks only words we want God to hear.
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