17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. — Col. 3:17 NIV
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. — James 3:9-12 NIV
These verses come at the end of a passage that speaks of the tongue and how our inability to control it causes us some many problems. No human can tame his or her tongue. We can pray about it and we can strive to do it, but it is an impossible task for a human. Only one man was able to do so and that was Jesus, the God-Man. Nevertheless, that does not relieve us of the responsibility of asking the Holy Spirit to help us do better every day. Our goal is to be that person who would never say or do anything to hurt someone else and that is the mark at which we should be aiming. Words that we speak without any intention of hurting anyone are often taken in the wrong way and cause pain to others. Our prejudices, and we all have them, sometimes lead to a “slip of the tongue”. Our thoughts lead to words and actions that show our true feelings and attitudes about others. We need to always pray this prayer:
68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. 69 We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.” — John 6:68, 69
How can we change our ways (actions)? By changing our thoughts and thought patterns. How do we do that? Truth is, we can’t, we have to seek the Lord and allow His Holy Spirit to do that work in us. That means we have to forsake or change our way of thinking about things. Changing our thought patterns requires us to change our focus. It requires us to ask ourselves this question: What is really important to me? God or self? We know the right answer, but we often choose the wrong answer. When we fail, we “seek the Lord”, which means we return to God and ask His forgiveness. Because God is love, he has mercy on us. He is waiting to pardon us and restore us to a right relationship with Him. We are all familiar with the Parable of the Prodigal Son related to us by Jesus in the Gospels. God is a much more loving, forgiving Father than any earthly father could ever be. Heaven is waiting to throw a party when we repent and return home.