This past Sunday my sermon was based on scriptures from the Book of James, the brother of Jesus. The entire book is a wonderful lesson on what it takes to have real faith and be a caring Christian. James tells us that a real faith controls the tongue, softens the heart, and purifies the soul. If it doesn’t, then something is wrong! There is much division in the Lord’s Church today over the secular issues that invade our faith and move us away from God. But it seems to me that the most divisive issue we have in the church today is an uncontrolled tongue! James reminds us that a real faith will require that you control your tongue. James Chapter 1:26 says, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” That is quite a statement! He goes on to explain in his third chapter that the tongue is harder to control than a wild beast. It corrupts like a poison and consumes like a roaring fire. James says that a negative, critical, condemning, gossiping tongue can destroy the church and individuals. He spotlights the poisonous effects of grumbling, complaining, quarreling and slandering talk. That is the evidence of a phony faith, James says! So, what if you are on the receiving end of such disruptive slander and gossip about yourself or others, especially those in the church? Rebuke the person slandering and gossiping! Tell them you will not be a part of this, and do not be a part of the plan to destroy someone. Real faith demands that we sometimes confront others – not with anger or vengeance, but with love and genuine concern. Never forget that real faith is always compassionate. Sermon over, for now… Go and be the true loving, caring, compassionate Christian that God had called you to be.