I am sitting in my dining room at home going through old emails and deleting those I feel I don’t need. This is a practice I do at the end of each year. Its interesting to see what people have sent me through the year. Some of the emails are heartfelt and describing what someone is feeling or going through. These I normally keep. Others are funny emails that brought me a chuckle when I needed it. Most however are from people who are upset or dislike a decision I made or a direction the church is going. I feel a tinge of regret as I reread these emails as they bring back the sting of others words. And then God reminds me of the sting of emails I have sent and words that I have said. And great sadness sets in as I realize how far we need to go as the church in our treatment of each other.

I’m reminded of James 3:6, ” And the tongue (0r keyboard in this case) is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting fire the entire course of life”. Our words set fire to the lives of people around us. The tongue has started wars, split families, broken up churches, and caused hatred and discouragement. What we say can be the difference in someone’s life. The power of the tongue is unbelievable. But when our tongue is under the control of the Holy Spirit, something wonderful happens. James goes on to say in verse 17, “But wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. Our tongue can be used for the Glory of God and bring abundant peace.

So as we transition from 2016 to 2017, my prayer is next year when I clean out my email batch, there will be more encouragement, more grace, more humor, more gentleness, and most of all, more love. Let’s remember that Christ died for each one of us and we are all His prize possession. Let’s make 2017 a year to remember God’s grace.