Friday, December 16, 2005

Cursing Men

I have an idea of something I want to write about that is new, and not simply a rehashing of something I have submitted in another group. However, I do not have time at the moment to get into that idea, so here is the latest rehashing:

I am going to use James 3 as a starting point.

9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.

I find it interesting that James did not say "we curse fellow Christians", but rather opened the floodgates to include everyone. We curse men who are the image of God. I think I used to unconsciously interpret "they will know we are Christians by our love" to mean our love for each other as fellow Christians. As if "worldly" people would see our clique of loving fellowship from the outside, and desire to jump in so they could be loved too. I now see that my image of Christ is best represented to others in my ability to love and apply grace to everyone as best I can.

Ok, let me swing this around to my ultimate point, because my burden with it has been growing since I moved to Utah and it is starting to peak. I have this T-shirt that some of you may have seen. It says "Lord Jesus, your sheep have sharp teeth", and it has a drawing of a sheep with oversized, vampire-ish, teeth. Silly picture, but it is supposed to shine a light on how out of place we look as Christians when we use our speech to dig into someone.

It has been troubling to me how socially acceptable it is in Christian circles to mock and belittle the faith of our LDS neighbors. If someone were to make a belittling comment about race during a small group or at church, they would probably be met with stunned silence. I am finding we are not so graceful when it comes to "cursing", as James would say, our LDS brothers who have been made in the image of God.

I have a friend of mine in Michigan who has never cut someone down in front of me. It is an amazing gift that I have tried to emulate. We have as a K2 core value to "watch each other's back", what if, as James encourages, we applied that to all men who are made in God's likeness. I know this is easy for me in a way. One of the best friends that I have made in the Valley here is LDS. Because he is my friend, I am committed to protect him and support him. It is harder for me to do that with my Charismatic brothers and sisters since I grew up charismatic. It is easy for me to be more critical there, so it is often best that I simply hold my tongue. I know for many here in the valley, since they have a history with the LDS, it is hard not to launch into some digs.

James goes on to say: 11 Can both fresh water and salt[a] water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

The interesting thing is that Salt water ruins fresh water. Any fresh is instantly ruined by the application of salt water (even in small doses). It does not work the other way around. Our cursing of men is not sanctified by our praise to God. However, our praise to God will be spoiled by our cursing of men.

Everyone I know needs to know Jesus better tomorrow than they do today; my evangelical and LDS neighbors included. I do not necessarily know the best way to encourage someone of the LDS faith in their relationship with Christ, but I am confident we cannot portray a Christ who loves and adores them through our rolling eyes, snickering, pot-shots, impatience, and superior attitude.

I think because the LDS faith is so Huge here, we consider our words of no harm (like the way people around the world trash America - they almost deserve it for being so dominant). It affects the individuals though. They are not knowing us by our love.

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