We’re assured our nation is better now, but is it possibly a false assurance? The recent saga of Donald Sterling shows us something of this considered façade. Could it be that we continue to harbor a Samaritan disdain even though we’ve bettered ourselves at hiding it?
I watch the news reports and cringe a bit, not at the wily catching of these racial comments so much, as wondering how many similar statements and thoughts might have passed my mind and tongue spanning my lifetime.
Thankfully they’ll not be heard publicly though for I am blessed to reside in a middle class stature of sorts, with no available funds to confiscate in court, and without a name of any concern to the media.
Mr. Sterling indeed has a problem, and rightly needs calling on his inappropriate words, but then don’t we all battle with the sins of the tongue?
How applicable is it then for our Pastor to recently share exactly where our problem resides? From his message, biting our tongue may be the appropriate action when these thoughts raise their ugly heads, but we need to know the issue isn’t with our tongues but with our hearts.
Our wicked thoughts and affections, words and actions, defile us, and these only. As a corrupt fountain sends forth corrupt streams, so does a corrupt heart send forth corrupt reasonings, corrupt appetites and passions, and all the wicked words and actions that come from them. A spiritual understanding of the law of God, and a sense of the evil of sin, will cause a man to seek for the grace of the Holy Spirit, to keep down the evil thoughts and affections that work within. Matthew Henry, Commentary on Mark 7
Taking his NBA team away and fining him millions of dollars will make for some relief to those affected. Some will find temporary wealth with due process. Then next week’s news will make us forget Donald Sterling. He’ll find another hobby and make more riches. It’s what the wealthy do.
The positive side of this reported verbal abuse is that it gives opportunity to everyone to consider their own tongue and its powerful ability to both build up and to tear down. It gives us reason to wonder how one little member of the body can do so much. If we are wise it makes known our unsolvable dilemma.
We cannot control our tongues because we don’t possess the ability to change the source of its empowerment. It will have to be changed for us; not by external means, but by the one who takes up residence in the hearts of his people. The heart where Jesus lives will enjoy along with new name, new mind, and new heart… a new tongue. We must be fixed from the inside out.