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Wednesday, August 4, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Matthew 12:22-50

Over the first 43 years of my life, I have heard lots and lots and lots of children’s sermons during worship. Some of these are more memorable than others.

One of my favorite children’s sermon that I’ve seen done several times involves someone taking a tube of toothpaste and squeezing it out into a separate container before the children. Once the tube is completely empty, the presenter will ask the children how they should go about putting the toothpaste back inside the tube.

Inevitably the kids giggle and say something like, “That’s silly. You can’t put the toothpaste that you’ve squeezed out of the tube back inside!” The presenter will then say, “You’re right. That’s not only true about toothpaste – that’s true about words as well. Once you speak the words inside your head, you can take those words back. So be careful about what you say!”

Jesus makes the same point in today’s reading from Matthew. “Let me tell you something,” Jesus began. “Every one of those careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation.”

Those are powerful – and challenging – words for me to hear. That’s because as an extrovert I am prone to think aloud. I often am not as careful with my words as I could be. As a result, there have been times I have paid the price for not being as careful as I should.

Perhaps I’m not the only one with that problem. Maybe you have struggled with control over your own words. If that’s the case, today I would invite you to be more aware of your use of words. Ask yourself, “Are my words bringing a sense of salvation/wholeness to myself and others; or are they moving me (and others!) in the opposite direction?”

Til next time …

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