Saturday, March 29, 2008

Moral Filth

My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save. James 1:19-21
What is moral filth? I’m currently reading God's Grace and the Homosexual Next Door by Alan Chambers. It talks about the extreme attitudes towards homosexuality. Some are active trying to make homosexuality part of mainstream, normal society and others are vocal about how much they hate not only homosexuality but also homosexuals and take every opportunity they can to spew their conviction that homosexuals are the epitome of moral filth, the worst of the worst.

But when I read the verses above from James, I see no mention at all of homosexuality. Instead, James seems to define moral filth and evil as being slow to listen, quick to speak and quick to become angry. Ouch! There are a lot more of us guilty of these evils and moral filth than there are homosexuals. Could it be that those carrying placards with hateful messages of hell are in greater danger of hell than those they are targeting?

“Be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” I know that twice this week I blew up in anger and was quick to say things I shouldn’t have. I didn’t take the time to really listen. This is a great evil and morally filthy. In fact, James goes on to say:

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. (vs. 26, 27)
The things that jump out at me here are the tongue and pollution. There seems to be a connection and the theme seems to continue from verses 19-21. Be slow to speak. Keep a tight rein on your tongue for not doing this makes you morally filthy and polluted by the world.

I know I have some filth and pollution to clean out of my life. What about you?

Father, I haven’t always been quick to listen, slow to talk and slow to become angry. I’ve been wrong. Please forgive me. Change me, God, so that my tongue creates no more filthy pollution. Give me opportunities to learn this and when you do, please remind me of how you want me to respond. In Jesus’ name.

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