What Happens When Something Spills?
We’ve all heard the old saying, “Don’t cry over spilled milk.” What it means essentially, is that there’s no reason to be upset about something that has already happened and cannot be changed.
Ha! Easier said than done. There are countless examples in life when we spill something — literally or figuratively — and fret about it for hours, days, even weeks.
The other day as I was preparing to enter the church, trying to carry too many things at one time, my little plastic container of Eclipse gum tumbled to the asphalt and spilled half the contents onto the parking lot.
Not only was I disappointed at having lost a handful of gum contents, I was upset with myself for trying to carry too many things at one time. I should have been more careful.
It is, indeed, frustrating, when we spill something, especially when it could have been prevented by being a little more cautious.
There is one area, however, where we need to be especially careful, and that is in regard to that which spills from our mouths, specifically the words we use. Sometimes, we react emotionally to certain situations and say things we later regret. Other times, we hold back, reflect on the situation, and develop a more measured, diplomatic response. In almost every case, it is wise for us to opt for the later rather than the former.
The Book of James, Chapter 3, offers some stern but very wise advice in regard to the things we say.
“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. 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. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
How fitting and relevant a passage for the state of affairs in our nation today. We greatly value our right to Freedom of Speech, but with that right comes a great responsibility. The things we say can inspire, but they can also inflict great pain. We need look no further than the incident at this year’s Academy Awards ceremony to see just how volatile our words can be.
As faithful disciples of Christ, we have a right and a responsibility to speak what we believe is the truth, but we can do so in a way that is measured and not malicious. In that way, what we say will be much more palatable and have a much greater impact on the recipient.
Until We Meet Again, Be Blessed! – Pastor John