A few years ago I remember one fateful night. Melissa was gone so it was just me and the two boys home alone. I had walked out of the room for a couple minutes when I heard both boys screaming and laughing.
This was not good. This combination is a herald of bad things to come.
I walked in the room to find one of my sons in his underwear sitting on the other’s head.
“Can you smell it?!?”
Kids don’t wake up thinking, “How can I stretch the limit of my parent’s patients and love?” But they still seem to do it, don’t they?
(For the record, everyone could smell it.)
What sorrow awaits you who lie awake at night, thinking up evil plans. You rise at dawn and hurry to carry them out, simply because you have the power to do so. – Micah 2:1
We “as adults” don’t succumb to the base urges our children do (most of the time). So we think ourselves better in many ways. But here God points out we do something much worse. Maybe you read this and think, “Not me.” But what about wrongs that have been done against you? Have you not spent nights dreaming of ways to seek revenge? If we don’t have the power to “make it right,” we dream of having the power or authority to do so. And by “right,” we really mean better for us.
I like the way James corrects us on this issue:
Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires. So get rid of all the filth and evil in your lives, and humbly accept the word God has planted in your hearts, for it has the power to save your souls.
But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves. For if you listen to the word and don’t obey, it is like glancing at your face in a mirror. You see yourself, walk away, and forget what you look like. But if you look carefully into the perfect law that sets you free, and if you do what it says and don’t forget what you heard, then God will bless you for doing it. – James 1:19-25
The evil our tongues are capable of is so vast. A passive aggressive email to your boss about a team member. A vague Facebook post about the person who wronged you. An Instagram post making someone look less than they are. An angry text with words you would never say to the person’s face.
Micah knew our hearts in the 7th century B.C. James knew our methods in the 1st century. Jesus has the solution:
Jesus replied, “ ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments. – Matthew 22:37-40
We would be so much better off if we could follow the most important commandment. Let’s base our words and our actions out of love rather than what we think is “right.”
Love God. Do His work.
Love others. Speak words that lift them up. Do work that lift others up.