Sunday, September 26, 2010

Out for bear

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)

My frustration intensified as I studied our daughter's college tuition statement. I was puzzled by what appeared to be the university's retraction of a somewhat sizable refund that we'd been given.

Quite a bit of my irritation stemmed from the fact that I'd spent a lot of time and phone calls the previous month to gain understanding of the original reimbursement. Receiving assurance from the cashier's office that we were, indeed, entitled to the refund, we gave our daughter the go-ahead to cash the school's check. Now it seemed we should never have received the refund.

I was confused, angered and short on patience. Adding to my edginess was the fact that I was pressed for time to complete several overdue work-related projects and had just been handed two unplanned tasks. Learning that my daughter wasn't the only student affected by the accounting error only added fuel to my already unpleasant attitude. Consequently, I was "out for bear" when the cashier's office staff member answered the telephone and ready to tell her what I thought.

It's been said that the tongue is the most deadly weapon in the world. With razor sharp words we cut through the thickest of skins. We strike at the core of a person's being with damaging speech that divides friendships and wounds even the strongest of relationships. The writer of Proverbs describes reckless words as piercing like a sword (Proverbs 12:18). It's not surprising that the infamous list of seven things detestable to the Lord includes "a man who stirs up dissension among brothers" (Proverbs 6:16-19).

The writer of Proverbs also reminds us that if we hold our tongue we will not say the wrong thing. In fact, we're thought to be wise when we keep silent (10:19). Dear friend, let's put the "blade" away and use our words to help and heal.

Keep me from saying words
That later need recalling;
Guard me lest idle speech
May from my lips be falling;
But when within my place
I must and ought to speak,
Then to my words give grace
Lest I offend the weak.

Blessings, dear friend.
Faithfully Following

O God, My Faithful God
Johann Heermann 1585-1647

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