A Thursday Reflection 9.14.17

I found this reflection on-line.  What a powerful and necessary message for our time.    I would love to meet the author and shake her hand. – Fr. Joe

         Saying No for the Good of All
Daily Devotional •
By Eleri Kerian

Today’s reading from James is a strong rebuke and reminder that those of us who teach “will be judged with greater strictness.” James’ message is clear: guard your tongue and what you say ,for it will affect your whole person. James warns: “With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.” This is an important spiritual lesson for us all: to reign in what we say to and about others. Our holiness is at stake.

I would like to take his command one step further. I’m an extrovert. As an extrovert, I have this awful habit of feeling like “since nothing is happening, I must do something else.” This is sometimes to the detriment of my family life. While what I am often asked to do by others might be worthy in of itself, I have learned that “guarding my tongue” means to not say yes until I have carefully considered whether God wants this for me and my family.

I recently read an unattributed phrase: “Don’t promise when you’re happy and don’t reply when you’re angry.” This hit me to the core. I’m an energetic doer, mover, and maker. A lot of things that I am asked to do would be completed easily in a perfect world. But our world is not perfect, and nothing is ever as easy or simple as I think it will be when kids get sick, my husband works late, and my perfectly planned day does not allow for misadventures. Just as I had to train myself to not give in to speaking uncharitably about others, I have had to accept that sometimes the Lord wants me to bless him and my family by saying no instead of yes.

 

James 3:1-12

Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers and sisters, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. 2For all of us make many mistakes. Anyone who makes no mistakes in speaking is perfect, able to keep the whole body in check with a bridle. 3If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. 4Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. 5So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! 6And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is placed among our members as a world of iniquity; it stains the whole body, sets on fire the cycle of nature, and is itself set on fire by hell. 7For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, 8but no one can tame the tongue—a restless evil, full of deadly poison. 9With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.10From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 11Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water? 12Can a fig tree, my brothers and sisters, yield olives, or a grapevine figs? No more can salt water yield fresh.