In the movie Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella meets a radical author from the 60s who changed Ray’s life – Terrence Mann. Mann is now a private guy who wants to be left alone. When they meet, this conversation takes place:
Ray: By the time I was ten, playing baseball got to be like eating vegetables or taking out the garbage. So. When I was 14, I started to refuse. Could you believe that? And American boy refusing to play catch with his father?
Mann: Why 14?
Ray: That’s when I read “The Boat Rocker” by Terrance Mann.
Mann: Oh, God.
Ray: Never played catch with him again.
Mann: You see? That’s the sort of crap people are always trying to lay on me. It’s not my fault you wouldn’t play catch with your father.
I find this chat amusing because while the fictional Mann clearly wanted his book to change lives, he now regrets it and rejects the notion that his words are responsible for any damage they might have caused. That is one of the problems with words. They have power and a life of their own once they leave our lips (or thumbs). We need to be careful with our words because we can do great harm with them, even when we do not intend to. When we harm others with our words, we are being un-Jesus-like.
Jesus calls us to love God and each other. These two greatest commandments are linked. If we speak well of God, but verbally attack our neighbor, we fail in living the Jesus way. We fail as people of God. But it’s hard, isn’t it? Who has not tossed a personal attack at someone just because there is a disagreement? Hard not to these days, right? What do we do? Come here about it this Sunday at 9:30am at John McMillan Presbyterian church when Pastor Jeff preaches “Leading the Way” based on James 3: 1-12. We will look forward to seeing you!