“He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment...” John 16:8b
For the past few days I have been trying to formulate what I am going to say at a meeting I will be attending this evening. I have had so many drafts, and lifted up so many prayers in between my drafts that last night when I went to bed I found myself more confused than ever as to where all this was going and what God wanted me to eventually put to paper and speak to the people I will be addressing.
I prayed one last prayer as I crawled into bed and told God that above all things I wanted my mouth to be a witness of his light and that I was going to trust in Him to bring the words I need to paper in time for the meeting and that the words He gave me would be words that would prosper beyond the point of my speaking them and that would do a great work in the hearts of those who I will be speaking to with His help convicting them of their sinful ways.
Then, as I sat down to read scripture this morning, the above verse convicted me of what I had been trying to do in all my previously written drafts instead of allowing God to do it for me – convict these people of the sins they are committing. That type of convicting is for Jesus Christ alone and since He knows each of these people's hearts much better than I ever could I need to seek Him and what He has already known I should say that is beyond my contrived words that would do nothing but create a division instead of the broad place of peace and love He can bring to the situation I will enter tonight.
I guess it wasn't coincidence either, not that I believe anything happens without God's involvement, that the following scripture was in my bible reading twice this morning:
“Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:5-18
Speaking truth in the face of injustice is a difficult place to speak because your sinful self wants to speak out, not in the love, grace, and mercy of the Lord, but rather in harsh condemnation of all that you can see around you that is wrong, selfish, and filled with sinful intentions. But God does not work that way and neither do His people who He asks to put on a new nature, to live in love, to be fruitful from the inside out, and to speak truth in righteousness so that peace may be the end product of what we accomplish in this world – peace that eventually leads people to His light and the only way to salvation from this world through His work on the cross.