Somebody Else’s Problem

 “This kind can only come out through prayer.”  Jesus

In Mark 9, 14-29, the disciples attempted to exorcise a demon.    The father of the possessed sensed their powerlessness and appeals to Jesus.     The Son of God rebuked the demon by name, “Mute and deaf spirit I command you: come out of him and never enter him again! Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out.”

Can you imagine Peter, James or John saying, “What kind of sin was that family guilty of?   If I was there, I’d say, “Sure glad that was somebody else’s problem.”  The armchair theologian in our midst added, “We learn four things about exorcism:  1) You call a demon by its name 2) You rebuke it in Jesus name 3) You command the demons to never return 4)  Expect resistance and fiery exit.”

The author of the epistle of James (aka James the Less or the son of Alpheus) linked our speech to one of two sources, God or the Devil.   Our Lord’s speech always reflected heaven’s viewpoint (cf. the Beatitudes of Matthew 5).  (Don’t model your speech after the Pharisees (cf. Mt 23)).

James echos Jesus’ words, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” (cf. Mt 12:34).  When you bless or curse someone, make sure you are speaking from heaven’s well (cf. Luke 6:28; Rom 12:14).

How do you know if your words come from heaven’s heart?

As King David said, “The commands of the Lord are clear” (Psalm 19).  Christians intuitively know the sources of their wisdom.   Even though we are believers,  we choose from two sources.  Speech is a gift from heaven or hell.  True wisdom is always “both”  “and.”   While the speech inspired by the devil leaves out the “and.”  It may be intellectually brilliant but it lacks godliness.

Regardless if my speech is witty or dull,  it must be accompanied by a  good life and produce the fruit of the spirit (cf. Mt 5:6).

The speech from hell.

James informs us the speech from hell,  “leads to bitter zeal, rivalry, and resentment: it is “earthly” because it rejects things transcendental and supernatural; “unspiritual” (merely natural, “psychic” in the original Greek), as befits people who follow their nature as wounded by original sin, deprived of the help of the Spirit (cf. notes on 1 Cor 2:14–16; Jude 19–20); “devilish”, in the sense that such people are inspired by the devil, who is envious (cf. Wis 2:24), “a liar and the father of lies” (Jn 8:44) (cf. The Catholic Letters. (2005). (p. 40). Dublin; New York: Four Courts Press; Scepter Publishers.)

What happens if we consistently choose one over the other?  

We may not end up “foaming at the mouth” but don’t count on any of our words remaining in our firey exam (cf. I Cor 3).



Author: gbradepp

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