Changing culture is external, but it has to start from within. Culture is the result of what people do and make, fueled by their belief system. You can only produce what you are. If you want to change culture, produce godly things from godly thoughts. If you don’t have those godly thoughts, you can’t produce godly things and you can’t change culture. Changing culture starts with a change of heart and the heart is governed by what you believe down deep inside — what you really believe, not necessarily what you say you believe.
“The proof is in the pudding,” they say.
James 3:9-13 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.
Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.
In these verses, we see that since we are God’s children, endued with his spirit, we should be acting like it. We need to be wise in how we conduct ourselves, both with each other in the body of Christ and with others in the world. It’s not wise to do any differently. Notice how the discussion in the above verses turns to wisdom. Be wise in your dealings with others by conducting yourself in a godly way.
This section of James is talking about the tongue. Let’s see what God has to say about that, through James:
James 3:6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
It’s not wise to go around spouting off your anger, your bitterness and your disappointments in life. Give those things to God and let him carry your burden. It may sound easier than it is, but on the contrary, it’s the easiest way to control your emotions. Go to God in prayer. Talk with him. Shout, scream, but by all means, talk with God. He’ll calm you down. He’ll comfort you. I’m not saying disrespect God at all, just be real when you speak with him.
Proverbs 15:1 A soft answer turns away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.
A key here is to not incite anger in people. If you want to fight, fight the devil and his host, not people, especially those who you love the most. Jesus said to love our enemies, so what about our own family members and our own brothers and sisters in Christ? Those are the people we have the most contact with and thus the most conflict with. Turn that conflict into opportunity; the opportunity to love even deeper.
Changing culture requires change from within first. When enough people allow Christ to clean up their lives by obeying what he says, then you will see drastic changes in our culture.
Luke 6:45 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.
If you have confessed Jesus is Lord and you believe God raised him from the dead, then you have been made righteous in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:21,22 among other places), so in God’s eyes he has made you ‘good.’ Bring forth that which is good; let your speech reflect your God-given righteousness at all times. You won’t be arrogant, always right, and incommunicable. You won’t be starting verbal wars, insulting people or inciting them. Instead, you’ll be blessing others, lovingly confronting those those who need it, and acting as Jesus himself would.
Changing culture starts from change within. Do your part and God will do his through the power of his gift of holy spirit within you.