Brothers | Out of Control | Fires
And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness…It can set your whole life on fire… (James 3:6)
The boys huddled over the pile of dead ants while Jack pulled out a lighter. “Watch this,” he whispered. Ben shifted nervously and cast anxious glances toward his house. “Are you sure we’re s’posed to have that lighter? My mom won’t let me play with hers.” “Shut up,” Jack growled as he touched the small flame to the heap of dead grass topped with ants. “You don’t like ants, do ya? We’re gonna burn ‘em and then I’ll put the lighter back. Nobody will know.” Within seconds, the flame consumed the small heap of grass and spread to the dry leaves beside it. The boys jumped up and began to stomp the leaves, but the flames would not be stopped. Joined by drought and a stiff wind, Jack’s little lighter destroyed an entire neighborhood.
Jack never intended to burn down the neighborhood and we never intended to destroy the relationship, sully a reputation, or become entangled in a web of lies. “I’m just speaking my mind,” we say. Or “It’s just a little white lie. It didn’t hurt anybody.” Our reasons for starting fires with our words can feel justified at first, but words take on a life of their own. Somebody tells somebody and before you know it, you’ve started a fire. Marriages collapse. Families split. Churches divide over something as small as a word. Like sparks on dead grass, words can set our lives on fire. But that’s not always bad. Fire can be a life saver. And when used rightly, our words can spark encouragement, trust, or a change of direction in someone’s life.
Final Thought: What fires have begun with your words? Make sure those verbal sparks save lives and don’t destroy them.
Prayer: Father, I know I’ve caused some damage with my words. I can’t take them back, but I can ask forgiveness and learn from my mistake of playing with fire. May my words spark hope and healing in the lives of others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.