This evening our Growth Group is discussing James 3:1-12, “An Unruly Tongue.” As I was preparing to facilitate the conversation, two points seemed particularly potent.

First, teachers are held to a higher standard than other people. At first this seems unfair. Why does God accept this double standard? Possibly some of us are asking this as we watch the Penn State abuse scandal unfold. In comparison to similar cases, it seems that Joe Paterno is being treated more harshly than other people in similar situations. Maybe it is unfair, but it is right. Joe Paterno has been a role model for many people. His influence is very large. Therefore his failure affects many. Those of us who wish to influence others must be aware that if we are successful, we will be held to a higher standard.

Second, as I evaluate my speech patterns I recognize that I often use humor to diffuse awkward or tense situations. Generally, this is an appropriate use of humor. However, I think I tend to overuse this tactic. There are times when I could encourage someone with a straight answer, but instead I jokingly say something ridiculous. That might be fun, but it tends to dilute teachable moments. As a teacher, I should be alert to every opportunity to extend a blessing or a word of encouragement.

I hope that your mouth and mine will be like a spring of fresh water.

What do you think?