But no one can tame the tongue; James 3:8a (NAS)
The new year had come but nothing new had come with it. At least not at the Peterson house. As usual, Bill was busy at work, Martha was at home on the phone trying to put together plans for a Valentine’s banquet, and Harold and Stella were at it again.
“I am not an ugly monster! You are!” Stella yelled as she ran into the kitchen “What did you call me?” Martha asked Stella as she covered up the end of the phone. “I wasn’t talking to you.” Stella told her mom, “I was talking to Dog Breath.” “You mean Muffy?” Martha asked. “No, Harold.” Stella replied.
Just then, Harold came into the kitchen and started in, “What did you call me you pig?” he yelled at his sister. “I said you smell like a dog and thank you for calling me a pig.” Stella replied, “I am after all a Pretty Intelligent Girl.” “You mean Pretty Ignorant Girl.” Harold retorted. “I am not, Squid Brain.” Stella yelled back at Harold. “At least squids have brains.” Harold quickly replied.
“Alright, you two,” Martha said as she hung up the phone, “What’s going on here?” “He started it.” Stella told her Mom. “I did not, you did.” Harold said trying to put the blame back on his sister. “No, you did, you big baboon!” Stella responded. “Well,” Harold answered back, “You’re the one that looks like a monkey or at least acts like one. You Retard.”
On and on they went calling each other names until finally, Martha interrupted them. “Enough!” She yelled at the top of her lungs. “I think you’ve done enough name calling and criticizing, and you still haven’t told me what’s going on here.” “I told you, he started it.” Stella answered. “Started what?” Martha demanded. “I’m thinking.” Stella replied and than it started all over again.
“You have to have a brain to think.” Harold shouted at his sister who in turn called Harold a Hog Face Brat. To which he replied by calling Stella a toad face with warts all over it. “I am not.” Stella shot back. “You are too.” Harold continued, “In fact, you’re so ugly that only a mother could love you.”
“Well, your mom is so ugly, ” Stella started to say when her mother interrupted her, “Your mom is what?” Martha asked. Taking a quick glance at her mom, Stella started to sputter and cough and than ran off to her room and Harold decided he needed to go look for Muffy. “When will they ever learn?” Martha said to herself as she picked up the phone.
James 3:8-10 says - But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. (NAS)
There's an old saying - “Sticks and stone may break my bones but names will never hurt me.” But, names can hurt for if they couldn't they may not be said. Name calling may come in different forms such as what happened to Jesus in Matthew 12 after He healed a blind mute by casting out a demon.
Then some people brought to Jesus a man who was blind and could not talk, because he had a demon. Jesus healed the man so that he could talk and see. All the people were amazed and said, “Perhaps this man is the Son of David!“ When the Pharisees heard this, they said, “Jesus uses the power of Beelzebul, the ruler of demons, to force demons out of people.“ Jesus knew what the Pharisees were thinking, so he said to them, “Every kingdom that is divided against itself will be destroyed. And any city or family that is divided against itself will not continue. And if Satan forces out himself, then Satan is divided against himself, and his kingdom will not continue. You say that I use the power of Beelzebul to force out demons. If that is true, then what power do your people use to force out demons? So they will be your judges. But if I use the power of God’s Spirit to force out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you. - Matthew 12:22-28 (NCV)
After Jesus healed the man it appears as if the Pharisees became Jealous and they quickly tried to put Jesus down claiming he was doing His work in the name of Beelzebul – the prince of demons – of course when demons are cast out they are cast out in Jesus' name so it's almost as if they were calling Jesus Beelzebul himself.
A couple chapters earlier Jesus made it know that He had been called Beelzebul and his followers would likely be called worse. - A student is not better than his teacher, and a servant is not better than his master. A student should be satisfied to become like his teacher; a servant should be satisfied to become like his master. If the head of the family is called Beelzebul, then the other members of the family will be called worse names! Matthew 10:24-25 (NCV)
Beelzebul isn't the only name Jesus was called. Matthew 11:19 says He was called other names as well - And I, the Son of Man, feast and drink, and you say, `He's a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of the worst sort of sinners!' But wisdom is shown to be right by what results from it." (NLT)
The Bible warns against name calling - Matthew 5:22 - But I say, if you are angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the high council. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. (NLT) Add to this Proverbs 4:24 - Don’t use your mouth to tell lies; don’t ever say things that are not true. (NCV) and we should get the idea to not behave like Harold and Stella or the Pharisees
Much more could be said about name calling and how it goes against the Biblical command to build each other up or how when we call someone names we may actually be calling Jesus names in the process but I'm running short on time and space but that doesn't mean you can't study it out some more. In the mean time....
Here's Something To Ponder
- Are you initiating name calling?
- Do you return name calling when called names?