The Letter written by James for this Sunday shows someone who understands and has probably experienced “foot in mouth” disease.    There are many examples in this passage about the effect our words can have on others.   Phrases such as we praise God and curse men with our mouths AND the question as to whether both fresh and salt water can come from the same spring.   

I am not exempt from “foot in mouth” disease – there are times that I have regretted what has come out of my mouth.  The result has upset not only myself but the person or persons who have heard what was said.  Once the words have been voiced it is impossible to take them back.  The words spoken are often remembered for a long period of time.  

Forgiveness for what has been said is often difficult to achieve.  Part of Psalm 19 refers to forgiveness.  Forgiveness is understood differently by different people.  I  have come to a new understanding of forgiveness through my cat (the Prince).  He can be a very naughty cat – loves ripping up paper, scratching or bitting me, and waking me up during the night for a smooching session.  He also comes to me first thing in the morning curls up beside me and shows me all his love.  We then start each day with love rather than the anger and upset of what he had done the previous day.  However the results of his activities from the previous day remains – such as shredded paper and scratches.  Over time I have learnt the following about forgiveness:

  1.  Forgiveness does not change what has happened in the past
  2. Forgiveness comes through God
  3. Forgiveness is a way of changing what can happen in the future
  4. Forgiveness is a change in attitude from anger to love/respect

Questions to consider: When was the last time that you suffered “foot in mouth” disease?  What was said and more importantly has the relationship with that person being restored?

Shirley Bowers
Longford Uniting Church