A phrase I don’t remember hearing until this pandemic is the phrase, “super spreader.” This is a person, group, or gathering that can later be traced as the source of a major outbreak. For example, in February 200 people from around the country and world gathered at the biotech company, Biogen, and at least one participant had COVID 19. Then after 48 hours of unmasked close quarter conversations, those same workers traveled back to other parts of the US and the world spreading the virus. By finding a specific genetic mutation traced back to conference infections, researchers have now traced that same genetic mutation in about 2.7% of all analyzed US cases. Researchers suggest that to date, the Biogen conference has led to an estimated 20,000 Covid-19 cases. James 3 warns that in a similar way, when we don’t filter the words that come out of our mouths, our words can be destructive, infectious, and life killing. “Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire… (James 3:5-6).” Your words have more power than you think. What you say and what you write matters. We all know of people who have been hurt by untrue and unfair gossip. We all know how stifling stereotypes and racism can be, and how easily it is passed from one generation to the next unless the cycle is broken. We all know of people who have been shackled with a lifetime of shame because of cruel and ungodly words of judgment. We all know how easy it is for misinformation, falsehoods, and endless conspiracy theories to spread like wildfire today. We all know people whose negativity can bring a whole room, meeting, Life Group, or church down. Parents and grandparents, you know that how you talk impacts what your kids say and think and how they see the world. We live in a highly combustible time. Words that may seem benign to us go off like a bomb in the ears of others. Don’t be the spark that sets off the fire. Don’t be the fuel makes it grow. Let your words be showers of peace and hope and love in a parched land.
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