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Forest Fires

“Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered.”

Proverbs 11:25

We’ve all seen the devastation on T.V. when forest fires get out of control and begin spreading quickly and wildly, in all directions, destroying everything in its path, leaving only ashes behind. Sometimes they become so out of control that towns and cities have to be evacuated. If you’ve never had to be in that situation, count your blessings.

I’ve never experienced such destruction, but like many I have watched firefighters in parks and along roadsides as they have controlled fires that are set to get rid of the old foliage so the new vegetation has a chance to grow. Those fires are never as big as forest fires, but they spread rapidly just the same.

In James 3:5 Jesus talks about the tongue (our words) being just like forest fires. All it takes is one spark to ignite others with destruction or encouragement. Because we are all human and daily come short of God’s glory we like to gossip, and one lie told to one person will spread like those fires, reaching anyone who is willing to listen and continue the lie; especially when they’re about another person. The Bible says the devil is the father of all lies (John 8:44). Do we really want to be associated with him?

Our words can be destructive when we use them to tear someone down too. It not only hurts the recipient but begins a spreading fire of negativity. In this moment in our world with social media as big as it is between news and friends, we are seeing many “forest fires” growing. With another election this fall President Trump has been under many negative lies and attacks, because of covid 19 governors across America, especially where I am from have been under the tongue of frustrations and anger, and now there are words of anger and hate floating around through protesting, riots and violence on all sides of ethnicity. It’s been hard seeing friends argue with each other instead of listening with kind words to each other’s feelings and opinions. These little fires are being used to tear down our nation and so many are allowing the devil to have full control instead of putting their faith in Jesus to help change the lies, stereotypes, and so much more.

Jesus specifically tells us in Ephesians 4:29 that our words should only be used for edifying and building up so those who hear can be given grace. The same grace Jesus has given you multiple times. The Bible is full of verses about the words we speak and the effect. Proverbs 16:24 says ‘Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and health to the body’.

Here are a few more texts about the effect of kind words and hurtful words which all come from the New Century Version Bible:

Proverbs 12:18-19 "Careless words stab like a sword, but wise words brings healing. Truth will continue forever, but lies are only for a moment."

Proverbs 13:3 "Those who are careful about what they say protect their lives, but whoever speaks without thinking will be ruined."

Proverbs 15:1 "A gentle answer will calm a person’s anger, but an unkind answer will cause more anger."

Proverbs 15:4 "As a tree gives fruit, healing words give life, but dishonest words crush the spirit."

Proverbs 17:28 "Even fools seem to be wise if they keep quiet; if they don’t speak, they appear to understand."

Proverbs 21:23 "Those who are careful about what they say keep themselves out of trouble."

Proverbs 25:11 "The right word spoken at the right time is as beautiful as gold apples in a silver bowl."

Matthew 12:36-37 "And I tell you that on the Judgment Day people will be responsible for every careless thing they have said. The words you have said will be used to judge you. Some of your words will prove you right, but some of your words will prove you guilty.”

Colossians 4:6 "When you talk, you should always be kind and pleasant so you will be able to answer everyone in the way you should."

So today and every day, let’s begin to watch what we are saying so we don’t accidentally start a fire and so when we face Jesus, we will not be ashamed of what we have said. Forest fires kill and leave ashes behind and we don’t want to leave ashes behind in our path or cause anyone to stumble off the path away from God.Be a blessing and you will be blessed.

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