Don't Mess with His Kids

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Sunday, May 26, 2019 0 comments

by Logan Ames

One of the most important things for any child to know about his or her parents is that they will always have the child’s back and stand up for them when they are being mistreated by others. God demonstrates this for us when He comes to our rescue in the midst of the attacks we are facing from our enemies. The only time God does not do this is when there is a greater purpose for our pain and He wants us to endure the trials and overcome them by faith.

That was not the case for me in eighth grade when I was suddenly jumped by two classmates who were hellbent on physically fighting me. These guys had picked on me for awhile verbally and I had occasionally responded just so I didn’t come across as a pushover. However, they made a plan one day, unbeknownst to me, to have one of them distract me while the other came up behind me and started pounding on me. They enacted this plan right in the middle of the class-change time after the bell had rung, just so that there would be lots of other students in the hallway and they could make an example of me. My dad had always taught my brothers and I that it’s never okay to start a fight, but we were allowed and even encouraged to defend ourselves if necessary. Well, I took his advice to heart that day. I chose to defend myself after getting jumped and ended up landing three punches to the one guy’s face while they only landed one on me. All of us were then questioned by the principal and the other two guys even admitted that they planned out the attack, yet I still got suspended four days to their three because I had landed more punches.

When my dad found out that I had been punished more severely than the other two guys who planned their attack on me and then put it into action AND admitted all of this, he decided he wasn’t going to let the school treat his son unfairly. My dad actually took time out of his schedule to go into my school and speak to the principal. He told the principal that his judgment in the case of his son was unfair and that the principal needed to make it right. I remember thinking that either my dad made his point really well or the principal was just terrified of further upsetting him. Either way, the principal complied and the end result was that I had a day of my suspension taken away and the other two guys got a day added to their suspensions. The principal learned an important lesson - to mistreat the son was to mistreat the father!

In James 3:9-12, the writer is continuing his teaching concerning our use of language and how unstable the tongue really is. He draws attention to the fact that we human beings who profess our faith in Jesus as Lord are quick to “curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness” even while we are showing up to public meetings and praising our Lord. James declares that praise and cursing should not come out of the same mouth (v. 10). The key to his point is that in God’s eyes, cursing someone that He created in His likeness is akin to cursing God Himself! We know from Genesis 1:26-27 that James is correct in that man and woman were created in God’s image and likeness. Those of us who find no difficulty in speaking an unkind word to or about a fellow human being would do well to remember how seriously God takes the mistreatment of His children. Our empty words of praise when we gather for weekend services and enjoy the music mean nothing to God if we just as easily curse His image-bearers.

Like my dad, God will always come to the defense of His beloved children unless He sees something for them to learn or exemplify to others in the situation. This was important for me as I approached marriage just about three years ago. I was given advice that I now give to engaged couples who come to me for counsel. That advice is for the man to treat his wife as God’s daughter and for the woman to treat her husband as God’s son (lowercase, so we’re not talking about Jesus). If I only view my wife through the lens of my own judgments, her own mistakes, or the fact that she is MY wife, then I neglect the responsibility that God gives to me and the one for which He will hold me accountable. If I can train myself to remember that she is a daughter of God rather than just someone who occasionally hurts me or annoys me, then I can value her and treat her the way she deserves. It’s no different than my desire to treat her well and earn the right to partner with her from her biological father. God doesn’t take kindly to those who mistreat His children, so I have to remember that the gift of a great wife that I’ve been given is not something to be taken for granted.

Ultimately, we are supposed to view every human being this way no matter what they’ve done because nothing can take away the fact that God made them in His image and likeness. That being said, most of us can’t even love our spouses and children in this way. So, James addresses it and uses the pronoun “we," once again indicating that he struggles with these difficulties as much as anyone to whom he is writing the letter. So, rather than bash them for their obvious contradictory words and actions, he uses it as an opportunity to teach them something by getting them to think. He asks two rhetorical questions: “Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?” and “Can a fig tree bear olives or a grapevine bear figs?” (James 3:11-12)

The obvious answers to James’ questions are NO and NO, but the people needed to see that allowing praise and cursing to come out of the same mouth is just as absurd as going to a salt spring and expecting fresh water to come out of it. In other words, one of the two opposing forces has to win out. If you consistently praise God’s name while also consistently mistreating the people He has put around you, either the praising has to change the cursing or the cursing will change the praising. It is impossible to continue to have both and claim it as a productive lifestyle that lives by faith.

Paul tells us that we should not allow any unwholesome talk to come out of our mouths but instead should focus only on saying that which builds up those who need to hear it (Ephesians 4:29). If we can’t say something that builds others up, then we’re better off keeping our mouths shut. The bottom line is that we cannot and will not get away with verbally abusing those whom God loves and created in His likeness just by showing up occasionally on weekends and singing His praises with our eyes closed and hands up in the air. If we mess with God’s created “kids," we are messing with God and that is never a position you want to be in. Take a moment right now and consider who you may have hurt with words even in the last 24 hours. Chances are that you can find someone. Contact them now, apologize, and ask for forgiveness. Then, seek the Lord and ask Him to help you see people the way He does - as His created image-bearers who need to be built up. You can do this by the power of the Holy Spirit!

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