Thursday, January 17, 2008

Never the Same

During a Bible study when I was in my church youth group many years ago, my youth pastor used an object lesson that greatly impacted me. He passed an aluminum soda can around and invited each of us to put a dent into the can. We started timidly, but by the time the can had made it all the way around the circle, it was practically flattened.

Our pastor then instructed us to pass the can back around, each of us removing the dent we had put into the can. We all sat puzzled. We started the can around, attempting to remove the dents and restore the can to its original form. It became apparent very quickly that the can would never be the same as it was before.

Our youth pastor then shared with us from the third chapter of James.

How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Ouch! I am often reminded of this visual image of the damage our unkind words can cause. Once said, they impact others, changing them in some way. Yes, we can ask forgiveness and many times receive it; but those words may still ring in the air at times. Those words have changed someone. During times of struggle and doubt, those unkind words can surface in the back of their minds.

As women, we wield great influence over our families through our words. We can choose to encourage, cheer on, and gently correct; or we can resort to nagging, criticizing, and complaining. This is a daily choice that has eternal impact. This choice often reflects our priorities. Are we focusing on self or on serving God and others?

Our tongues are untameable in our own strength. May this instrument that is so often manipulated by Satan, be used to bring glory to God as we praise Him and seek to edify others. Because our words do have the power to change people, may the change be one that brings hope and honors Christ!

See you tomorrow for "Fit Friday."


Deidre said...

I love that illustration. We always did the toothpaste analogy....having the kids squeeze toothpaste from the tube and then trying to put it all back in. We can never take back our words.

Thanks for posting this. A great reminder.

momrn2 said...

A great object lesson. I may use this with the youth at church!!

And always a great reminder to be aware of the power we hold in our tongues. Personally, I can never be challenged or hear it too much!

Thanks for such a reminder today!

Denise C said...

Now this is powerful! Wonderful object lesson for students as well as adults! Thank you for sharing this! You are so right...we need to select our words carefully!
I would love to add your link to my side bar of "Special people Places" so that others could be blessed by your words. Would that be OK?
Blessings to you on this snowy day!!! :)

Mocha with Linda said...

Wow, that is powerful. Never heard that one - I too was more familiar with the toothpaste. But the can that still remains damaged is a stunning visual.

Thanks for sharing that.

Linda said...

Great visual. I too was familiar with the toothpaste illustration but I love this as well. Looking forward to tommorrow.

Jenny in Ca said...

wow, this is a great post, so well said. I loved the object lesson.

Susanne said...

I've heard of the toothpaste one, but never this one. I like where you said "This is a daily choice that has eternal impact." The word choice being oh, so true.

Julie said...

I love visuals, there's just something about them that helps get the point across. Great visual. Thanks for sharing.


Deborah Shank said...

This is a great post. What an incredible illustration. I may use this next week when I speak to our youth group.


Laura said...

this is a message I need to hear over and over! Talking is something I love to do, and sometimes I just don't guard my tongue the way I should. Thank you for a great illustration to keep in mind to help in this area!

Xandra said...

"Our tongues are untameable in our own strength" That is such an important truth that often gets overlooked. There is no way that I can control my's only by being in communion with God and being filled with the Spirit that I can overcome sin in my life.

Great post!


gail@more than a song said...

What a great post, thanks for sharing this.
A daily choice, that's so true, and it's still so hard for me to remember sometimes.

I enjoyed reading about your fitness routine, etc. Still another thing that I try to incorporate into my daily life, and still a struggle at times. What do you do when the weather is bad or cold? Inside something instead of walking? I've been trying to walk about 40 minutes a day 5-6 days a week but it's finally gotten pretty cold in the south!