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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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Posted on July 1, 2015, in Devotional and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. Amen! So thankful for clean slates, new days dawning, and fresh air! Great post!

  2. Great post, Connie! I hadn’t even thought about the haze being from the fires, but I noticed it. Good analogy about the haze our words can cause when we aren’t careful. ~Robyn

    • Thanks, Robyn! Yes, our words can be a blessing or a curse.
      Online social media can be used for good, but I am dismayed when I see how easily half-truths are passed around. It’s the new way to gossip, but still harmful.

  3. I love this! Your mistake of hitting publish instead of save draft is a problem I have had as well!🙂

    Psalm 19:14 is one of my life verses. Oh that I would be better at holding my tongue and using my words wisely!
    Thanks for these reminders and encouragement!
    (Your neighbor at #TellHisStory)

    • I’m so glad you stopped by, Rachel! So I’m not the only one who has made that mistake (publishing instead of saving). I’m glad this little story of fires and words could be an encouragement to someone.

  4. Loved the correlation you made between blogging, words in general and wildfires. I think most of us on this blogging journey has had the oops of hit the publish button too soon. And who among us couldn’t stand to watch our words more. So nice to have read your words today Constance.

    • Thanks, Wanda! It’s so hard to see my words go out (spoken or written) and then realize “oops, that isn’t what I meant” or “I shouldn’t have said that.” I’m thankful for those who overlook and forgive my verbal mistakes.

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