No Way to Put Them Back
Wednesday - April 22nd
Today's Scripture to Read: James 3:2-10
"Words are like toothpaste; once they are out, you can't squeeze them back in." Whoever said that understood the problem of trying to control one's own tongue. Someone else gives the caution, "Be sure and taste your words before you spit them out." We all know that our tongues are hard to tame. What we say to others can be so loving and life-giving one minute, and so destructive and hurtful the very next. In the New Testament Book of James, wild animals, reptiles, and other creatures are considered so much easier to tame than the tongue. An out of control tongue burns like a small spark that quickly becomes a raging forest fire. These and other images used in Scripture have a common thread - the problem started small and maybe even out of good intentions, but quickly grew and did severe damage. The problem with what we say is that when it is said, there is no way we can take those words back. The things said can be forgiven, but may not be forgotten. Once words make their way out, they are difficult to address and even more challenging to repair. Think of those your words have hurt over the years. Think of those wounded by a cutting remark, damaged by words hurled at them in anger, and betrayed by gossip whispered in private. Words do cause pain. During our time in which we are "locked down at home," patience has been wearing thin, tempers are rising, and frustrations are mounting. It is easy in the pressures of this quarantine to become overwhelmed by work and school both taking place at home. Words can be said between spouses and within families that can wound deeply. None of us want to say something hurtful in anger or frustration. But, without a tamed tongue, we will. Now is the time to recognize the damage an uncontrolled tongue can do. Now is the time to realize how much a kind word can mean to someone else. How tamed is your tongue? What would the people closest to you say if they evaluated how you speak to them? If the Holy Spirit is convicting you of a toxic way in which you have conveyed your words - even in the last several weeks - then confess to Him how much damage your words have done. Ask Him to show you how to deal with the frustrations you face and the uncertainty ahead without letting your tongue go wild. Ask someone close to you to evaluate how and what you say to those around you. And then, taste the words before you put them out where they can never be removed. Your words today will either bring hope and life to others or hurt and wound those you love the most.