"But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. Does a fountain send out from the same opening both fresh and bitter water? Can a fig tree, my brethren, produce olives, or a vine produce figs? Nor can salt water produce fresh."I greatly respect James. He was after all Jesus' brother, and for someone who has many many sibling issues, I can respect that. I mean can you imagine being Jesus' little brother? Mary would be saying things like "Why can't you be more like Jesus?" all the time. I'm very impressed that James became a Christ follower at all, but I imagine Jesus would not forsake his family. But this is besides the point.
When I read these verses I think about how my mouth is like a fountain, or spring, that spurts out both salt and fresh water, or in KJV bitter and sweet water. Of course, springs don't do this, which is what James points out. He says that we, people, do this all the time, but it simply should not be possible. A spring can only be sweet or bitter. We should only be sweet or bitter. I wish I could call this blog a "sweet fountain". I wish I could say that my tongue wasn't trenchant and often hurtful, and I wish I could say my tongue had a mind of its own. But I know what I'm saying. I always do. And every hurtful, painful thing that comes out of my mouth is exactly what I intend to say, which is horrible. I always apologize, and generally mean it, but it still comes out. The bitter water simply flows from my mouth.
However, bitter water isn't all there is to me. My too often bitter fountain sometimes defies the rules and spurts out sweet water. I can be encouraging and uplifting, and I can praise God. I wish I was only ever sweet. I wish I could dominate the urge to say hurtful things. I wish I could not want to say hurtful things. But as Paul, who is pretty much "the man" says,
"For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate."That's what I feel like. The things I do I despise, instead of the things I know I should do. Instead of obeying God, instead of listening to him, I take control of my own life and make the same mistakes over and over again.
Hence, I am a bittersweet fountain, neither completely bitter nor completely sweet. Maybe one day I can be a sweet fountain. But that is what this blog is for. It's for everyone who is also a bittersweet fountain, for everyone who is doing the very thing they hate. Know you're not alone. If Paul, who wrote the majority of the New Testament, can feel this way then we are surely not alone. And like Paul may God raise us above our short comings and use us for His glory.