The four kids, plus me, walked down to the little bridge along the gravel ATV trail. They had begged to go down there to throw rocks into the creek and I had entertained them because a little walk sounded nice. The girls chased each other down the path while the boy stopped every few seconds for some new treasure: a rock shaped like an eyeball, a dead cricket, and a stick to wave around.
Suddenly, my eldest daughter came screaming down the bridge, waving her arms around her head and running as fast as if she were in an Olympic track meet. What could have caused such a reaction? Hornets. As she ran past me, I asked her stop so I could see the damage, but she wouldn’t slow down to explain that she was getting stung.
At first, I thought she had been stung once, then she pointed out three spots and only after closer inspection at home did I realize she had been stung five times. No wonder she was running like the wind to escape that pain.
I’ve seen people running away from church with that same speed; they would do anything to get away. They’ve been stung by someone’s careless words. Perhaps we didn’t mean to say something that would cause pain, but many of our words can sting and cause pain, swelling and severe discomfort to those listening.
When we make a cutting remark about how rude it is to smoke in the church parking lot, not realizing that the woman behind us is struggling to break the habit – it stings. Or when we criticize the painting in the gym, trying to be “constructive,” but crushing the person who worked so hard on that job – it stings. It really stings when we assume that someone is living in sin because of the circumstances they are facing. And often, people will be stung not just once, or even just twice, but multiple times before they walk (or run) away with tears running down their face.
But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken.
This is one of those verses that is hard to swallow. Every.single.word??? Wow, that’s kind of scary, if I really think about it. I say things all the time without thinking much about it, but when I read this Scripture, I realize I must not be so careless with my words.
Words flying about randomly can sting. And that’s not what I want to happen with my words. I guess I need to be more careful about my words so that they don’t cause damage along the way.