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Summary: When we have the mind of Christ, our words reflect the life of Christ within us.

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Title: “Is This Thing On?”

Text: James 3:1-12 (1-2)

Thesis: When we have the mind of Christ, our words reflect the life of Christ within us.

Introduction

We should always assume these three things:

• “The mic is always hot and the camera is always rolling.”

I never cease to be amazed when I hear sound clips and see video clips of people saying and doing amazingly irresponsible things… apparently thinking no one is listening or watching when in fact everything we say and do can go viral in a moment’s time.

This week the cameras were rolling when Hungarian camerawoman Petra Laszlo was filming Syrian Immigrants fleeing from the police in southern Hungary. She was filmed deliberately kicking and tripping the immigrants. At one point she tripped a man carrying a small child and sent him sprawling. The camera caught her kicking two children who ran by. Had she known she was on camera she might have behaved differently but as it was she was nabbed red-handed, so to speak, and promptly fired by her news agency.

I recently read a little sarcastic barb, “You have zero privacy. Get over it!” It’s true.

• “We can’t afford to have a breaking point.”

Given the reality of zero privacy it is imperative that people be vigilant about what we say and do… especially in an unguarded moment.

ESPN reporter Britt McHenry was caught on the security camera in a towing company lobby as she took the towing company receptionist to task. Ms. McHenry was obviously weary and disheveled and did not like the fact that her car had been towed. Despite being told that she was on camera Ms. McHenry held little back. McHenry later posted an apology on Twitter, saying she allowed her emotions to get away from her during a stressful situation.

On the roughly one-minute long video that was captured by a surveillance camera, McHenry says to an employee at a register: "I'm in the news, sweetheart. I will (expletive) sue this place." The employee tells McHenry she's being recorded, but it doesn't stop her from continuing her rant.

"That's why I have a degree and you don't," she says. "I wouldn't work at a scumbag place like this. Makes my skin crawl even being here." Then she went on to say, "Maybe if I was missing some teeth they would hire me, huh?"

The employee apparently says something about McHenry's hair and the color of her roots. McHenry sasses back, saying, "Oh, like yours, 'cause they look so stunning, 'cause I'm on television and you're in a (expletive) trailer, honey. Lose some weight, baby girl." The mic is always hot and the camera is always rolling!

• “We are always representing somebody.”

I saw a cute blurb painted on the back of a semi recently that said, “If You See This Vehicle Drive In An Unsafe Manner, Please Don’t Call Us, It Increases Our Insurance Rates.” Truck drivers represent the trucking companies they drive for.

One of the biggest faux pas a church can make is to distribute bumper stickers that say, “Follow Me to First Covenant Church.” The inevitable end is that the church office answering machine fills up with angry rants about the lousy drivers at First Covenant Church.

I am an advocate of living out your faith in the marketplace and the public arena. But when we do that we need to be aware that we are being watched.

I think it might be nice if we were to put the fish symbol on the front of our cars rather than the back so that when we are in traffic anyone merging into the flow would check out their rearview mirrors and see the fish and think, “Ah… the nice Christian will joyfully let me squeeze in.

But the Christian fish on the back of our cars poses a problem. When Christians boasting their Christian fish symbols pull boneheaded traffic moves the end result is the people following are shouting, “Stinking Christians!”

As Christians, we are always representing someone or something… the camera is always running and the mic is always hot.

I wonder if we were to consciously go about bringing a higher standard to our words and our conduct if we might not need to worry if the cameras are rolling or if the mic is hot.

I. The Power of Perfection, James 3:1-2

…if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. James 3:1-2

Our text begins with an admonition regarding those who assume the role of teacher. Those who provide counsel or give guidance or teach others have a serious responsibility to be “spot on” so to speak. The text says the teacher will be judged more strictly. The inference is that the teacher’s life and teachings must be consistent and true. It is a sobering reminder to make sure the way you live and what you say does not mislead or dissuade anyone from the faith.

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