“And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.”
James 3:6, NLT
I have done many things in my 50+ years. My resume is pretty broad and quite diverse. I have been a corporate trainer, and I have been a commercial fisherman. I have been an inner-city evangelist, and an Army medic. I have been a senior pastor, and a missionary to Mexico. But more than anything, I have been quite consistently, “a steamroller.”
Steamroller. I think I better explain myself. I’m a man that has consistently used my words to crush other people, and this really disturbs me. I have flattened people, smearing them on the pavement. There was Vicky at the SOS- San Francisco Evangelism Ministry house. She irritated me, so I went up and told her, the “Vicky, this is the Word of the Lord. Read Judges 16:16!” And she melted before my words, torn and ripped apart by my twisting of scripture. I steamrolled over her heart. And I really don’t know why I did it. I wanted to be cute I guess.
As a pastor, I plowed over the hearts of “a children’s ministry.” It was more subtle, but it had the same degree of a deep intensity. (They would go on, but fizzle out in less than two weeks later.) I was the steamroller that crushed their hearts and dreams. Years before, at my Bible college, I stamped out and destroyed those who were not as precise as I was when it came to proper believing. I steamrolled them as well.
Over the years I have become very grieved over my consistent crushing of those who were different, who saw ministry in a differing way. When they would become “clear and obvious” to me, (their false doctrine and such) I considered it a scriptural necessity to “roll, baby roll” right over them. But, I was oh, so foolish. I harmed so many of His servants. What I was doing was wicked.
My words–like weapons, were cutting and hacking and lacerating. My words were crushing and stamping out the gentle hearts and their vision. People, dear ones. The things we say, go on to “burn and burn” and nullify the kind hearts of those who want to follow. Often our “professionalism” as pastors and teachers very often cripple those who tenderly follow. We go “nuclear” on them, scorching the earth, when all they needed really was a calm and directive word.
Brothers and sisters. We have to stop this, being right does not mean we are loving. We divide the flock far too often. We most likely will be right–but we don’t love. We jump up in our steamroller in a split second. We put it in gear, and we roll over those for whom Christ died–and we feel quite noble and holy, as we protect the Church from “bad thinking,” or bad examples.
Could it be, that what are you saying, wounds?
Be very careful. You maybe right, and you just might be true, but if you are not loving, you will only hurt them, and undoubtedly you will regret what you have done.
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.”
Psalm 19:14, ESV
- Worker Pinned Under Steamroller, Airlift To Hospital (miami.cbslocal.com)
One thought on “I’m a Steamroller! [the Tongue}”
Ps 19:14 was the first verse I wrote on a slip of paper and carried in my pocket. I still ask this nearly every day because even 30 years later I require God’s help in my word and thought life every day. My struggle is worse with people outside the church. It is hard to think about the awful things that have come out of my mouth…maybe good intentions in the mind but without loving kindness in my heart. Thank you Bryan.
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