“Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way. We can make a large horse go wherever we want by means of a small bit in its mouth. And a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.” (James 3:2-5NLT)
I learned a lesson the other day — don’t throw around phrases that can hurt people. I don’t mean the “sticks and stones may break my bones but names can never hurt me” kind of stuff (which really do hurt, by the way). I mean referring to people using words or phrases associated with disorders or diseases. My lesson was never to refer to another as “OCD” just because of something that they may have done. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, recurring thoughts, which become obsessions, and various forms of behaviour, which become compulsions. These obsessions and compulsions are repeated over and over again and can affect the quality of life of the person so afflicted.
Honesty has me confess that I referred to my wife as OCD for an activity that she was doing. Not five minutes later, a morning radio program had a story of the damage that was done to many people by using this phrase indiscriminately. The story of various peoples’ lives was called The War Within: “These are the faces of OCD. They don’t look any different on the outside. But inside, a daily war is waged for survival.”
My apology to my wife was immediate and heartfelt.
The next time when we are about to make the mistake of using language loosely, let’s ask for God’s help so that our tongues will wait for our brains and no one will be hurt by careless labelling. Pray with me:
Prayer: God, sometimes when I feel these obsessions and compulsions in my life, I do not understand what I do, for what I want to do, I do not always do, but the things that I do not want to do, these I keep on doing. Help me to know the difference and to rely on You. Amen. (See Romans 7:15-20)
Copyright © 2023, by Kenn Stright <email@example.com>, first published on the PresbyCan Daily Devotional presbycan.ca
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada
Used with the permission of PresbyCan and author.