Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down. Proverbs 26:20 (NIV)
You’ve always liked the roaring flame of a fire. Yes I have. Fire has been something that has intrigued me since I was a child. You’ve liked to play with fires? Yes, building and sitting around a warm fire is something that I could do for hours, even now as an adult. I like the colors and smell and even the crackling sounds of a blazing fire. Some of my special memories with you have been made sitting quietly around a fire listening to what you wanted to say to me. Yes, those have been some very special moments for you and I.
I have something that I want to say to you about fire. What’s that? A fire can be very dangerous. Yes, I know. Remember how I almost set a small forest on fire? What a panic that was. You learned a valuable lesson that day. You learned all about the dangers of playing with fire. Yes, I did. That’s the topic that I want to talk to you about today. I’m listening.
The words that come out of your mouth can be like a fire. They can be very dangerous. They can wound and hurt and do tremendous damage. There is nothing pleasant about these kinds of words and this kind of fire. No one is warmed by hurtful words. There sound is not pleasant to the ear or beautiful in anyone else’s sight. Hurtful and unkind words even if they may be true are grievous to me. I don’t want you to think these kinds of damaging words about anyone else including yourself. I especially don’t want these kinds of words to come out of your mouth. Do you understand why? I’m sure that I do. How sure? I’m absolutely positive. Tell me then why these words must not be in your mind or coming out of your mouth. There is more than one answer to that question. First of all I don’t want to think or say anything that grieves you. I know you don’t. Secondly, it is the devil and his evil that uses these kinds of thoughts and words to steal, kill, and destroy life. Yes, he does. Finally, I know that you want to use my life to bear abundant fruit for you. Yes, I do. There is probably nothing more damaging to my bearing fruit for you than improper, hurtful, and sinful thoughts and words in my mind coming out of my mouth. No, there is not. That is where evil and sin of every kind starts. So, I will turn away from evil thoughts and words. I will not let my words stoke a fire that does damage to others, myself, or your plans for my life. That will be very good. Let me change your heart and transform your mind so that you will be thinking my thoughts and speaking my words. Yes Lord, change me and give me the thoughts and words that you want me to think and to say.
Lord, I have chewed on choice morsels of gossip. I have fanned flames of a quarrel. I have fallen into a dark pit of tearing others down with words. Forgive me. Change my heart and transform my mind so I can speak loving and healing words that come from you. Amen
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