Water – it can sooth and refresh the spirit as it gurgles quietly in a nearby stream. Or the unlimited horizon of the ocean can provide a picture perfect sunset in a Hawaiian vacation. Water gives life to drought-stricken plants and trees and satisfies the thirst of the world’s thirsty billions.
But fed by torrential rains can snatch a car off a road tumbling it and its occupants to a watery grave. Water from a broken water pipe can destroy the finest of homes; unwanted water can turn an outdoor wedding into a tragic comedy.
Same commodity … different ends of the spectrum.
Fire – melts both the chocolate bar and marshmallow to create the perfect S’more. It creates an atmosphere of openness and fellowship when enjoyed in a campfire or fireplace. A flickering candle on a table between two lovers makes even bad food taste good.
But a fire out of control can destroy a fine home, a factory or famous museum. An unattended fire can burn millions of acres, roar across state lines, create homelessness for a multitude. Fire can be hurled to incinerate during times of war.
Same commodity … different uses.
The human tongue – can calm the fears of a young child afraid of the dark. It can speak words of encouragement to someone about to give up and restore their dream. The tongue can eloquently argue for righteousness and morality and stand fearlessly against tyrants and miscreants.
With the tongue we bless those made in God’s image, celebrate their dignity and free those who need forgiveness. The tongue can be used to put out fires, melt frozen hearts and attitudes, bring clarity to the confused. And with the tongue we honor and praise God in a way that no other part of creation can do.
And yet, the tongue used wrongly can create tension, destroy someone’s character, produce another layer of guilt and condemnation on someone already going under for the third time. We can use the tongue to get our way, promote our pride, eradicate those who don’t share our opinions and justify ourselves and our lives instead of repenting.
Same body part … but energized by totally different spirits.
Remember: we control our words. They’re too important to use foolishly.
“Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful,
so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
Ephesians 4:29 NLT
“Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen,
slow to speak, and slow to get angry.”
Ephesians 4:29 NLT
“The heart of the godly thinks carefully before speaking; the mouth of
the wicked overflows with evil words.”
Proverbs 15:28 NLT
“Take control of what I say, O Lord, and guard my lips.”
Psalm 141:3 NLT