Wildfires and Apologies
We all stumble in many ways. James 3:2 NIV
Maybe I need to go back to school with my grandson, who will be starting kindergarten this fall. I seem to not be able to tell the difference between the “Save draft” button and the “publish” button on my blog.
So, again, I extend my apologies if you’ve received a draft version of this post. One mistaken click has had a cascade of regrettable effects: chasing down and deleting the lamentable words on various social media sites, answering emails from mystified readers, and rushing to finish today when I’d planned to post tomorrow.
I am so thankful that the unplanned release of a few words on this blog are “merely” embarrassing (more like slap-my-forehead-and-groan “not again” humiliating) to me and not hurtful to anyone else. Since the first time I read Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables, I have found hope in Anne’s rhetorical question.
Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet? –Anne of Green Gables
I am waiting for a clean and fresh new day–literally. Smoke from lightning-sparked wildfires in northern Canada has been pouring into the Midwest, making the skies hazy with suspended particulates. Doctors have warned that those with breathing problems may be affected and urged them to take precautions.
This hazy photo was taken at 6:30pm, over two hours before sunset. This is the smoke from forest fires hundreds of miles away, not twilight or fog.
Our words can be like sparks that lead to fires. They have consequences at the source of the blaze and downwind. James knew just how powerful our tongue can be.
A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it! It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke . . . James 3:5,6 MSG
In a post I read yesterday, Lysa TerKeurst reminded me of the verse later in James.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. James 3:9 NIV
The question she posed to her kids applies to us all. Before I speak, I need to ask myself:
Are my words true?
Are my words kind?
Are they necessary?
If my answers to these questions were being graded, I’m afraid there are days where I’m not working at an age-appropriate level. I should be back in kindergarten. I’ve listened poorly, spoken quickly, and chosen my words haphazardly. I’m not playing nicely with others.
I need to apologize and (try to) clear away the smoke.
Perhaps you would like to join me in this prayer:
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart
be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. Psalm 19:14 NIV
* * * * *
As I write this afternoon, the wind has switched directions, and bits of blue sky are peeking out from grey, splotchy clouds. There’s hope and and a chance for healing. Lungs will breath easier, and hearts will be opening as the smoke clears.
I’ll try to watch my words (spoken and written) and where I click.
Clean the slate, God, so we can start the day fresh!
Keep me from stupid sins, Psalm 19:12 MSG