I woke up this morning feeling unsettled. It wasn't the curry that I had last night. Nor the dream i had, in which the dog died and my father came back to life. But rather something that I said when I was out with a couple of friends yesterday evening.
It was unkind, ungracious and untrue. But apart from that I think it was OK.
In his goodness, God convicted me about it as soon as it had popped out my mouth. And despite all my best efforts to muster a case for the defence in the court of my conscience, I know that I was wrong.
James says in his letter that I'm a verbal arsonist:
"... 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. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell" - James 3:5-6
Words are incredibly powerful things. By His word God created the world. He spoke life into being. By His word he will judge all people and hold them to account.
Words should be used to build up and encourage. Too often we use them to tear down and score points in a competition that matters to no one but ourselves. The result is as destructive as a forest fire.
As a teacher of God's word I need to be very careful how I use my words. So today needs to start with an apology and prayer that my tongue might be used more to speak lovingly and declare the praises of God. His love is so great that His Word took on flesh and became the man Jesus, so that he might die to forgive me for all the unkind things I've said.