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Be careful what you say

“The tongue also is a fire.” James 3:6 NIV

August 30, 2018 · Bob Gass

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On a windy day in March 1997, a father and son visited Valley Forge National Historic Park, where George Washington stationed the Revolutionary Army during the difficult winter of 1777–1778. The man and his son had something much less historic in mind: they wanted to launch a model rocket. At first they tried using electric ignition wires to light the fuse, but to no avail. So they tried lighting the fuse with a common sparkler, the kind frequently seen at annual holiday celebrations. That’s when trouble began. Sparks ignited a grass fire, and the winds quickly spread the blaze, burning a field where Revolutionary War soldiers had trained, and coming within a half-mile of George Washington’s headquarters. The value of what they put at risk was incalculable. It took thirty units from twelve fire departments over an hour to bring the blaze under control. In the end, some thirty acres were charred, and the man with the sparkler was charged with destruction of government property and improper use of fireworks. The Bible says, “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body” (vv. 5-6 NIV). “Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep…the door of my lips” (Psalm 141:3 NKJV). “He who would love life and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil” (1 Peter 3:10 NKJV). “The lips of the godly speak helpful words” (see Proverbs 10:21). So make sure your words help, not hurt; build up, not tear down. In other words, be careful what you say!

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