Bless those who curse you
And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring. James 3:10-12 NLT
We would expect the believer who uses their mouth to praise God in prayer, confession, and song to be consistent. Yet, just like what James said in the passage, this is not the case. With the same tongue the believer curses his fellow men, “sometimes…those who have been made in the image of God” (James 3:9b). In distinction from the rest of creation, man has a special relationship to God. “‘Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us’” (Genesis 1:26). Therefore, if we curse men, we indirectly curse God. Not only that, if we curse men, we act contrary to the clear command of Jesus, “Bless those who curse you” (Luke 6:28). Paul repeated this admonition when he said, “Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them” (Romans 12:14). This saying, “blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth” (James 3:10), is nothing new to the readers of James’s epistle. However, every reader of this epistle ought to recognize the contradiction when praise and cursing come from the same mouth: “Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!” With examples drawn from nature he seeks to illustrate his point. “Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water?” The point is, it is impossible to expect drinkable water and water that is not drinkable from the same source. Then, James uses a familiar example for a Jew had his own fig tree and grapevine (see 1 Kings 4:25). Olive trees were common as well. “Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs?” We know that each species of fruit bearing tree produces its own kind of fruit. Fig trees bear figs, olive trees olives, and grapevines grapes. The example is important for the Lord Jesus Christ raised the same question in the Sermon on the Mount: “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:16). Then James provided the answer to the rhetorical questions he raised by repeating some of the words of his first question. “No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring” (James 3:12). If, then, nature is unable to go against its created functions, this should also be the case for individuals who claim they are Christians for such inconsistent actions are contrary to God’s nature. Christians are expected to magnify their Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.