by Terri Clark @TerriClarkTCM
Have you ever had a cricket in your house? Next to flies and mosquitoes, they are the most annoying insects. When I hear one chirping, I have to find it and put it outside where it belongs. I don’t like bugs in my house, especially noisy ones.
Recently, I was talking with a friend of mine. Her three little boys have pet lizards living in aquariums on the shelf in their bedroom. Pet lizards are creepy enough in my book, but what’s worse is they eat live crickets. Natasha said they buy the crickets from a local feed store. Fishermen buy them for bait and little boys get them for their pet lizards. They come in a canister of 100.
A few weeks ago, Isaiah, her oldest son, fed five crickets to the lizards, put the canister back on the shelf, and went to bed. In the morning, when Natasha came down the hall, she noticed a cricket crawling across the floor. She thought one must have gotten out of the lizards’ aquarium. Then she saw another. And another. Opening the boy’s bedroom door, she found crickets crawling, hopping, and chirping everywhere.
Their kitten, who’d been shut up in the room all night, had found the crickets and knocked the canister off the dresser, breaking it open. They’d all made their escape. Natasha and the boys scrambled to catch as many as they could, but it was too late to get most of them. They’d already found hiding places. I can’t imagine having ninety-five chirping crickets loose in the house!
Once they were set free, these little bugs are almost impossible to recapture—they have a way of disappearing into the woodwork. You can’t see them, they’re small and might seem harmless enough, but the noise they generate can be deafening.
If you think about it, the words we speak can be like all those chirping crickets. Too often, even us Jesus followers, tend to say things we wish we hadn’t. But once it’s out of the mouth, those words can’t be recaptured. And they have a way of coming back to haunt us later. Like crickets, words keep on chirping long after they’re released.
How often have we heard the phrase, “All I said was…” after being offended by an offhanded remark? More than once I’ve lain in bed hearing my own words chirping in the night, thinking and worrying about what I said to someone earlier. Feelings have been hurt, relationships broken, friendships destroyed and even jobs have been lost over words thoughtlessly spoken.
The Bible says the tongue though one of the smallest parts of our bodies, can be like a spark that sets a whole forest ablaze (James 3:5).
In fact, the Bible has a lot to say about how we should be careful about the words we speak. Proverbs 18:21 says, “The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” And 1 Peter 3:10 says, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech.”
There are many more Scriptures that tell us God wants us to think before we speak and consider how our words affect others.
Once again, it’s all about loving God and loving people—the two greatest commandments. Today, let’s try not to knock that can of crickets of the shelf. Ask the Lord to help you and remind you of the effect of your words—before you speak them.
Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him. Proverbs 29:20 NASB
About the author: Terri Clark works with women to prepare and equip them to receive God and the blessings He wants to produce in their lives. She began to answer God’s call on her life in 1994 and has since impacted women all over the world with His news of salvation, edification, and healing.
Her book, Fanning the Flame: Reigniting Your Faith in God, identifies and addresses the issues which most affect a believer’s spiritual flame: the busyness of life, Christian service, pride, and worldly temptations. Join her in this pilgrimage and reignite your spiritual lamp with a fresh, empowering faith–a faith that will stand through a time of testing.
Join the conversation: Have you asked God to guard your words as the holiday celebration approaches?