It is so sad to see the wildfires in Northern California currently blazing away. As of right now, the current update is 31 killed and the death and injury toll is expected to rise. This has been pronounced as the worst group of fires in the state’s history. Sports programs and activities have been canceled in these areas. Communities, homes and properties look like a pile of ash from an apocalyptic movie. The past few weeks we have seen unprecedented events from nature destroy parts of our country. What in the world is going on? The director of the California Department of Forestry was quoted saying: “These are all fires that were in areas that are populated, and 95% of the fires in our state are started by people.” It got me thinking of the use of the word fire in the Bible and people starting these horrific fires. The use of the tongue and what we say to people came to mind.
Bare with me as I explain this passage James Chapter 3:
5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
The words we choose to use can be as deadly as a forest fire. We can ruin someone’s career by a smear campaign. We can encourage and build up or tear down with a few brief sentences in only a matter of minutes. It seems like Donald Trump has been making news more with the words he has said lately than the actions he is taking to make our country great again. Please choose this weekend to encourage a friend and to give timely advice to a love one. For many of us, it is easy to lash out most days. Just watch the news for a moment or view your favorite sports team not advancing in the playoffs and watch that little tongue singe everything in its path. God created us in his image and wants us to represent him in every way. This weekend let’s heal and not scathe someone and not be part of a new blazing controversy. For Californians, I hope rain is on the way soon to provide some relief. My prayers for all of us this weekend are that we give verbal relief to friends, neighbors and family. It only takes one spark to ignite a new blaze. Let’s do our part to not start a new verbal fire, and squash out one that us set before us. We can make a difference, but it will take practice and discipline. Are you up for the challenge?