Taming an Unruly Member

LETTER NO. 82 - September, 1917

As you probably know, we have here on Mt. Ecclesia a short service morning and evening, which includes a reading from the Bible. Mrs. Heindel and myself are very fond of reading from time to time the third chapter of James because we find there such an important lesson. I thought it might be well to call it to your attention, particularly because of an incident which happened here a short time ago that served to drive that lesson with great force into my consciousness. I believe that we shall all be able to profit by taking that lesson to heart. Let me quote a few verses from the chapter mentioned, and then I shall tell you the incident to which I refer.

"If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindeth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity; so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell, For every kind of beast, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: but the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similtude of God. My brethren, these things ought not to be. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace."

We have on Mt. Ecclesia several swarms of bees. Some time ago the gardeners were endeavoring to move a swarm from one place to another. The bees became enraged at this interference with their life and work; they stung their aggressors severely and painfully in a number of places. When this incident was reported to me and I thought it over, it struck me that there was in it a very important lesson. The bee loses its sting whenever it has stung, and then it dies. Just think of it! How strictly the law of justice deals with it! It automatically kills itself when harming anyone else. It is not an avenging God but its own act that brings the retribution. Just think of it!

If we died when we had stung others with sharp words, how many of us would be alive? And again, if we knew that we would die when we had stung, would we not curb our tongues to the benefit of ourselves and all others concerned.? This is surely an example that we may well take to heart and ponder repeatedly until we learn to snap our teeth together and keep our mouth closed whenever we are tempted to speak unkind words. If we can only do this, the time will come by and by when we shall cease to FEEL unkindly towards people, no matter what they do to us.

I can assure you in the case of Mrs. Heindel and myself, particularly since we came to Headquarters, that this chapter has been of more spiritual benefit to us than any other. It has helped us more than all the rest put together, though of course we are far, far from perfect yet. But what we have done, and what others have done with us here, is ample warrant for recommending this chapter to your earnest attention--coupled, perhaps, with the little story of the bees--for it will do as much for you if you read it and take it to heart one or twice a week.