To communicate effectively is a skill, almost an art. Our words can be as sweet as honey or as sharp as a two-edged sword; the power of life and death is in the tongue. Many secular books have been written about effective communication, and many passages in Scripture covers the topic of the tongue and the effects of the words spoken by it. Being a good communicator is important as most of us not only interact with others in person, but also via the internet and other social media. The written word is easily misunderstood, for there are no emotions or body language to verify the message. We are therefor to think before we “speak” (type).
Each of us is, effectively, the teacher of our neighbors and our brothers. This will remain so according to Jeremiah 31, until the new covenant is fully in effect.
34 “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know YHVH,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares YHVH, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”
Wisdom from above or earthly, demonic wisdom
We often teach others through sharing on Facebook or via e-mail messages or picture messages. This is great, for all must hear the truth. The only obstacle is the way this truth is sometimes conveyed and the reaction when someone disagrees.
Many believers are so zealous when they first learn about their Hebrew roots, the sacred name of our Father and all the lies they have been taught in the church, that they regard those who are still where they came from, as lesser beings, even idolaters. They are all pumped up by teachings of individuals who teach, without proper research, that the name “Jesus” is the same as the name of a pagan deity and many other unsubstantiated ideas. They go on a quest to change the world with their sword in their hand, judging, quoting scripture out of context and so doing damage as far as they go.
Knowledge has become more important than anything or anybody else. This kind of wisdom is earthly, natural and demonic according to the book of James. This quest to prove everybody wrong is fueled by selfish ambition and pride.
13 Who among you is wise and understanding? Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, do not be arrogant and so lie against the truth. 15 This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. 16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.
Wisdom that is earthly is fleshly wisdom, that which come from man, in contrast with divine wisdom. Natural wisdom is wisdom devoid of the Spirit of YHVH and demonic wisdom is that which comes from Satan. This is not the kind of wisdom we want to display.
Instead, we should be displaying another kind of wisdom, wisdom from above.
17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy. 18 And the seed whose fruit is righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Underneath every word is the Louw-Nida Lexicon’s explanation of the word as well as a second witness for better understanding. I know these are words that are easy to understand, but ponder each of the explanations and measure yourself against it. These are very wise words indeed.
Wisdom from above is:
88.28 ἁγνός, ή, όν: pertaining to being without moral defect or blemish and hence pure—‘pure, without defect.’ ἐποπτεύσαντες τὴν ἐν φόβῳ ἁγνὴν ἀναστροφὴν ὑμῶν ‘for they will see how pure and reverent your conduct is’ 1 Pe 3:2.
8 Draw near to Elohim and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
1 Peter 1:22
22 Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
25.249 εἰρηνικός, ή, όν: pertaining to freedom from anxiety and inner turmoil
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of Elohim.
We can sometimes agree to disagree, make peace, for none of us can claim to know all truth. While we are awaiting Y’Shua’s second coming, we are all in a process of learning. He will reveal all truth and restore all things.
88.63 ἐπιεικής, ές: pertaining to being gracious and forbearing—‘gentle, gracious, forbearing.’ μηδένα βλασφημεῖν, ἀμάχους εἶναι, ἐπιεικεῖς ‘not to speak evil of anyone, nor to be quarrelsome, but to be forbearing’ Tt 3:2
2 to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.
33.305 εὐπειθής, ές: pertaining to being easily persuaded, with the implication of being open to reason or willing to listen—‘one who is easily persuaded, open to reason.’ ἡ δὲ ἄνωθεν σοφία … ἔπειτα εἰρηνική, ἐπιεικής, εὐπειθής ‘the wisdom from above is … also peaceful, gentle, and open to reason’ Jas 3:17.
- Full of mercy and good fruits
88.76 ἐλεάω or ἐλεέω; ἔλεος, ους n: to show kindness or concern for someone in serious need—‘to show mercy, to be merciful toward, to have mercy on, mercy.’
13 For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
88.242 ἀδιάκριτος, ον: pertaining to not being prejudiced—‘impartial, free from prejudice.’ ἡ δὲ ἄνωθεν σοφία πρῶτον μὲν ἁγνή ἐστιν … ἀδιάκριτος, ἀνυπόκριτος ‘but the wisdom from above is first of all pure … free from prejudice and hypocrisy’
Our view of other people determine for the most part how we communicate with them. If you hold someone in esteem, you choose your words carefully but do you do the same when speaking to a poor beggar? We often show partiality when we communicate with others.
1 My brethren, do not hold your faith in our glorious Master Y’Shua Messiah with an attitude of personal favoritism. 2 For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and dressed in fine clothes, and there also comes in a poor man in dirty clothes, 3 and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” 4 have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not Elohim choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?
- Without hypocrisy
73.8 ἀνυπόκριτος, ον: pertaining to being genuine and sincere, and hence lacking in pretense or show—‘genuine, sincere.’ εἰς φιλαδελφίαν ἀνυπόκριτον ‘to the point of genuine love for fellow believers’ 1 Pe 1:22.
9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good.
* All the above quotes are from: Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Vol. 1: Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: Based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition.) (674). New York: United Bible Societies.
Before posting anything in a group, or on Facebook, e-mail or whatever you use to communicate, measure it against these qualities. If it doesn’t measure up, reconsider. I was thinking, it might be a good idea to memorize this Scripture or write it on a post-it pad and stick it up where you can see it. James may not have had internet, but he knew what he was talking about!
Everyone has a story
I read a story about a man with three young children in a train. The children were out of control, running around and disturbing the other passengers. All this while their father just sat there staring out in front of him. A woman remarked that his children were out of control, on which he answered that they are acting out of character because they are returning home from the hospital where their mother just passed away.
This is such a sad story and it will prompt you to think twice before you stand up in judgment against somebody. Do not forget this, everyone has a story.
11 Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. 12 There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy; but who are you who judge your neighbor?
Last, but certainly not least is anger. We are to be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger. Anger is often employed as a last resort born out of frustration. People just don’t HEAR you and you get frustrated and angry. David Stern gives good advice: people receive YHVH’s righteousness through believers mercy, not their anger, through their humility not their arrogance!
19 This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of YHVH.
Let every person be quick to listen but slow to speak (compare 3:3–12), slow to get angry (compare Ecclesiastes 7:9). Can modern psychology match this advice for improving interpersonal relations? When someone does or says something that would normally provoke quick angry speech, invite him to explain more clearly what he has done or said; listen carefully to him, trying to understand him and his situation; and respond in love, aware that, like you, he was “made in the image of God” (3:9, Genesis 1:27).
20 The history of Jewish-Christian relations is riddled with the sad consequences of believers’ failure to heed this verse. If Jews have tenaciously refused to trust in Yeshua, it is partly because frustrated Christians have attempted to accomplish God’s righteousness through their own anger. It cannot be done. Jews receive God’s righteousness through Gentile believers’ mercy not their anger (Ro 11:31&N), through their humility not their arrogance (Ro 11:16–22). 1
32 He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, And he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city.
27 He who restrains his words has knowledge, And he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.
8 Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret; it leads only to evildoing.
There are many different ways to communicate, we choose our words. Each of us has a predetermined time on earth. If you could know this time you would be able to calculate how many minutes you have. You can then calculate how many keystrokes you type per minute and so calculate your personal maximum keystrokes on your computer. This whole exercise is to show you that you do not have a limited resource, simply because your life is limited. Use your keystrokes wisely, and the same applies to your words.
Here are some more verses full of wisdom to consider. You don’t have to compromise, but do communicate with gentleness and love.
21 The wise in heart will be called understanding, And sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness.
24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
24 Put away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you.
12 Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all transgressions.
1 Peter 4:8
8 Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
- Stern, D. H. (1996). Jewish New Testament Commentary : A companion volume to the Jewish New Testament (electronic ed.) (Jas 1:19–20). Clarksville: Jewish New Testament Publications.
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