Words of Love #1
On August 24, 2000, a 46 year old woman tossed a burning match onto the ground when she stopped by the road to light a cigarette. As she confessed later, rather than putting out the burning match, she just glanced at it and left the area.
Over eighty-thousand acres of valuable timber burned.. Janice Stevenson, was arrested on suspicion of starting the fire. She pled guilty to second-degree arson, was sentenced to twenty-five years in the South Dakota State Penitentiary, and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $42,204,155.48 [CNN.com Sept. 2000].
Hearing this story we might say, How could she leave a burning match in a dry forest?” Yet according to the Scriptures this is what we do daily when we do not guard our tongues.
James 3:5-6 “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.
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.”
Personally, I often talk without thinking how the one receiving the words may feel. I may not intend to hurt, yet my words could cause great damage like the burned forest. It might take years to restore.
Proverbs 15:4 “A gentle tongue is a tree of life but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” Proverbs 16:24 “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” Wholesome words give life.
Many times we are blind to the affect of our words. Let us pray that the Lord will open our eyes to ways that our words are hurtful or damaging. The next time you think to say something that might hurt… Pause, pray, and try to rephrase what you say to uplift and encourage that person.
Proverbs 10:20-21 (NIV)The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value. The lips of the righteous nourish many, but fools die for lack of sense.
Here I paraphrase Germaine Copland’s Prayers That Avail Much for Women
Lord, help me to let go of all bitterness and bad temper and anger. Thank you for being my Wonderful Counselor and thank you for helping me to be forgiving and with the help of Your Holy Spirit I can get rid of all bitterness. My desire is to be holy so that others can see You in me. In Jesus name, Amen