Friday, May 18, 2007

Sunday Brunch: Honeycombs and Forest Fires

{Breakfast comes early, since I'm on my way out of town!}

Words. They are the essence of humanity, what separates us from the beasts. I know you can teach a chimp sign language, but until I see one reading Pride & Prejudice, I'm sticking with my premise. Our words have enabled us, the most vulnerable of species, not just to survive in this world but to rule it.

With our words, we have created civilizations. We have imparted knowledge and passed wisdom from one generation to the next.

We use words to think. We use words to teach. We use words to encourage, exhort, and comfort. We use words to fill the silence. We use words to gossip. We use words to bruise, to fight, and to wound. One word can seal a friendship. One word can end it.

With words we confess our faults. With words we extend forgiveness. With words we reconcile.

God brought this world into being with words. With the Word of Life, he redeemed it.

Why then, are we so careless with our speech? Why do we speak idly? Why do we fail to recognize the power of our words, for better or for worse?

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 person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. James 5:3-6

And yet,

Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. Proverbs 16:24

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