Past Imperfect


Justice-Seeking: Fighting against gossip


Saying the memory verse together at suppertime will imprint it on the hearts of your children forever.

James 3:5

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.


Have you ever committed murder? Probably not. But it is possible that we all have-with our tongues. In a way, what we say to or about someone can take a person's life. It can take a person's reputation. It can cause a person to suffer consequences for something he or she never did. It can take away the motivation to work hard and accomplish the things a person is gifted and called to do. In this episode, Charles lost 30 years of his life because of a lie and because people gossiped about him, destroyed his reputation, and his life.

Sometimes we are drawn into gossip and negativity about a person because it is a way for us to belong, to establish connection with others. For some reason it seems easier to be negative than positive. But when we keep a tight rein on our tongue we not only keep ourselves from hurting others, we please God and witness to others about walking God's way (see James 1:26-27).


How well did you listen to the story?

Q. What is the name of the group that is the subject of Lucille’s social studies project?
A. Black Adders motorcycle gang.

Q. Who did she find listed as a member?
A. Granny Gecko

Q. Who is in prison for the fire that killed Mr. Squamata?
A. Charles, a member of the Black Adders.

Q. What is the key to telling Grandpa Anole and his twin brother Johnny apart?
A. A slight scar on Johnny’s face.


This question is meant to help the children develop a biblical understanding of God, who He is and what He does. The "answer" is not meant for parents to read to their children. Rather its purpose is to assist parents in guiding the conversation to this biblical understanding. We encourage you to use an open Bible in this conversation, building biblical literacy and well as a biblical theology.


Read James 3: 3-12 during your dinner time devotions. Discuss the word pictures James uses here—a bit in a horse’s mouth; a big ship steered by a small rudder; a forest set on fire by a spark; a small part of the body that corrupts the whole body. What is the paradox of the tongue? It can produce both good and evil. Who can tame the tongue? No man, only God.


For one whole day avoid negative talk about people-only say good things. Remember if you can't say something nice, it's better to say nothing at all.
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