I was surprised to learn recently that in wildfire ravaged California, 95% of all wildfires are started by people, and most of those are unintentional. That means that a little more thought, care, and planning would go a long way towards prevention.
In a similar way, I would guess that most of the times the “fires” ignited by careless, cruel, and cutting words are not intentional (James 3:5-6). Still, we don’t have to mean to be mean with what we say to cause harm. We don’t have to set out to be destructive or divisive to hurt others.
It feels like we’ve talked about this a lot over the last several years, but we are living in an extremely combustible world. The pandemic and politics, economic concerns and social strife have left many people in a highly flammable emotional state, like a drought dry field ready to catch fire and spread destruction at terrifying speeds. All it takes is one little spark.
If we want to be peacemakers in an exceedingly incendiary environment, then we have to tame our tongues and train our tongues so that they create fewer problems and create greater peace. Sometimes it will mean…
- We Use Humor in Ways that Lift Up More than Tear Down
- We Do A Little Less Complaining and a Lot More Complimenting
- When Speaking the Truth, We don’t Forget the Love (or Humility)
I’m not arguing for a loss of freedom of speech but encouraging using your freedom to advance God’s way of love. I’m not advocating for paranoia; I’m promoting peacemaking.