He Speaks With Forked Tongue
UPDATE Sept 2021: I have come to believe that Jeff Crippen does not practise what he preaches. He vilely persecuted an abuse victim and spiritually abused many other people in the Tillamook congregation. Go here to read the evidence. Jeff has not gone to the people that he spiritually and emotionally abused. He has not apologised to them, let alone asked for their forgiveness.
James 3:8-12, “but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. (9) With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. (10) From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (11) Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? (12) Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”
We often hear people speaking about how someone’s spouse is “only verbally abusive, not physically abuse.” Somehow I don’t think James would like that take on it. Here, the Apostle says that the tongue is full of deadly poison. That sounds pretty potent. Paul apparently agreed when he said that the poison of asps is under their lips (Romans 3:13). When you get punched in the face, the thing is pretty clear (though even then the abuser can put the blame on the punchee). But when you get bit by the cobra of a wicked person’s words…. it isn’t as plain. But you start dying anyway.
James says that the evil man’s tongue is forked. He speaks one thing, then another. He “blesses” the Lord, then turns right around with the same tongue and uses it to curse his brother. Guess what? The cursing is what comes naturally. The blessing is fake. That is why James goes on to say that a spring really has only one character – fresh OR salty. And a fig tree is only one kind of tree — it gives either figs or olives, but not both. An evil heart cannot produce words that bless. It is all show. “Praise the Lord!” Yeah, right. In the next minute that pious “saint” will bite you with verbal fangs.
All of us have to work hard at taming our tongue, but in Christ the SPRING has been changed. The tree itself is not of the same stuff it used to be. Fresh water and fruit now come forth. Yes, sometimes there is a stinking word uttered, but now that stench and poison do not define who we are. We repent of it and ask the one we struck for forgiveness. Genuinely.
When you see a person who claims to be a Christian, from whose mouth come blessing and cursing, the latter unaccompanied by true repentance or progress in holiness, you can confidently assume that the source that is animating that tongue is foul. No, that is too kind. James puts it this way –
James 3:6,” And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.”