“Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! 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.” – James 3:5,6
Chances are you know how easily our words can slice into others with razor sharp ease like a surgical knife. I know full well the weight of our words. And, yet, I revisit this lesson all too often.
During a trip to Chattanooga with my wife and son, we decided to go eat dinner at Olive Garden. We found where it was located and began driving to it.
Now, as it turned out, I had been needing to go to the restroom for quite a while. I had been drinking a lot of water and I just needed a bathroom break. So, as you can imagine, I was eager to make it to Olive Garden!
Only, it seemed that my lovely wife, who was driving at the time, had different plans. She didn’t drive as fast as I wanted her to. She stopped on yellow lights instead of zooming on through. She stopped in the middle of the road and let others get in line in front of us.
I mean, here I was in pain and she decided to try out for the Courteous Driver of the Year award. You’d have thought I was a representative from Geico riding along to see how safe her driving was for an insurance quote or something. 🙂
Anyway, we got to the Olive Garden parking lot and she, for whatever reason, just drove right on by it – which meant we’d have to drive all the way around this crazy divided road and turn around to come back.
And, I started griping. “Why did you miss the turn? I’ve gotta go to the restroom. Bad. Help me out here.”
Well, Paula didn’t say anything, but little 4-year old Jacob Andrew Brown did. He yelled out, “Daddy, I heard you say mean words.”
It really caught me off guard. That once again my tongue had gotten the better of me. And I had cut someone I love. And others had watched on as I did.
Let me tell you, he was exactly right in what he said. I had used mean words.
I turned to my sweet, courteous driving wife 🙂 and said, “Honey, I’m sorry about that. I was wrong.” Jacob clapped his hands and smiled, Paula smiled and I smiled once I made it to the Olive Garden restroom. 🙂
One of the biggest destroyers of relationships, marriages, ministries, testimonies, and churches is this untamable thing we call the tongue. One of the largest contributors to arguments, bitterness, resentment, ill will, and conflict is the tongue.
Proverbs 21:23 says, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles.” And when we don’t learn to hold our tongues, we invite troubles into our lives.
We need to be careful that we use our words to build up instead of tear down, make peace instead of disrupt it, and speak the truth in love instead of wield our words like a weapon wrought with bad attitudes and bad motives.
He may never say it aloud, but I hope from this day forward Jacob Andrew Brown can say in his heart of me, “Daddy, I heard you say NICE words.”
Jimmy Brown [email protected]http://www.living4jesus.com/