No doubt, many pastors can relate to the following story; for me it was a first in nearly 11 years of pastoral ministry, but there’s a lesson for all people in it.
On Saturday I presided at a wedding at Belmont Lutheran Church (the country congregation I serve). It was a small wedding with family and some friends present. The wedding service went great as God was praised and worshiped; tears were shed as the couple exchanged vows and all had a great time. Following worship I met the witnesses downstairs to sign the marriage license. There was a little small talk but generally me giving instructions on where they needed to sign. As we were finishing, I heard a voice from behind me,
“Pastor, shut your mic off.”
[Yup, I actually did that]
My microphone was on as the happy couple was dismissing and greeting people upstairs. My wife was fanatically texting me from upstairs; trying to get my attention, but apparently I have no problem remembering to silence my phone.
Embarrassed, I turned my mic off and sought out the couple. They just laughed at me and thought it was funny. Others got a kick out of it too.
[At least I wasn’t in the bathroom. I’ve heard those “horror stories”]
But it got me thinking…
I left my mic on during a moment that I thought was private; and yet I was not ashamed of what I said. I wonder, though, do I live other moments like that; living like I am on an open mic for the world to hear? I am not referring private counseling sessions or other conversations that really need to be kept private. But what about when you are out and about with people? Do you talk about others in a way that you would be ashamed for then to hear? Is you speech different than when you are in church or Bible study? Do you bless and curse with that God-given tongue?
Basically ~ Are you a Jekyll and Hyde type of Christian?
From James 3:9-12…
With it (the tongue) we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
A convicting text to say the least. With our tongue we worship and praise God one moment and then can easily speak evil of people the next. Maybe we need to imagine ourselves walking around with an open mic (turning it off when privacy is of utmost importance).
God gave you a tongue to praise Him but also gave you a tongue to build people up. Would you be ashamed if people knew what you were saying about them or talking about in general? Open your mic and use your tongue for that which God created it. Bless (at all times) and do not curse.
Creator God, You created all people in Your image. May we treat them as such; honoring and building others up as we honor and worship You. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.
The Pastor -|—