Our Words Carry

I took this photo on the block around my house.  It's several houses down from where a house caught on fire and burned a few weeks ago.  It caught my eye because that is a piece of scorched wood from the fire.  You can find bits and pieces all around the neighborhood at this point, scattered all over by the wind or who knows what.

As I spotted it on my second or third lap around the block I felt like God was showing me that harsh words have the effect of a fire in our lives.  What we say never stays contained to a neat little fire pit.  It reaches far beyond what we think.  Our words carry, much further than we know.  What we say to one person in one conversation can reach far deeper and do more damage than we can imagine.  Words spoken in anger, no matter what the justification, will never be as fruitful or enduring as words spoken in love. 

In addition to scattered ashes and fire bits around the block, there have been crews at that burned house on a regular basis, all day, working to undo the effects of the fire.  I've seen truck load after truck load of debris being carried away.  Soggy carpet, burned belongings, charred wood, etc.  And you know what?  The house still looks terrible. It still stands there, fully feeling and showing the effects of a fire that raged through it.

That's our words as well.  It could take years to clean up the things we say.  And months of work before we really begin to see what stood before the damage was done. 

And then there is the lady who lived there.  Do you think she will ever be in that house again and not think about that fire? She's likely changed for life. It will always be a present memory for her.  The damage on some levels was permanent. 

Our words can do permanent damage.  To a person or a cause or a family.  No matter what we do, the damage of some of our words can be permanent.  They could end up being part of the script someone plays in their mind.  What do we want our part to sound like? 

On top of that, the houses to either side of the effected house are scarred.  The vinyl siding is fully melted off of the sides facing the once burning house. 

That's our words on the people around us.  Especially angry, hot words.  No one listens to an angry screamer.  Their words are wasted except for the damage they do to the relationships around them, and in that endeavor they are fruitful.  

I just thought it was a great illustration to share with the climate we are facing these days.  So many people have good messages, but we really need to consider our delivery of those messages.  Are we spurring one another on towards more love and unity and respect? Or are we spurring one another on to choose a side, encouraging disrespect and inciting people to anger?

One method will bear much fruit.  The other is about as helpful as a house fire.
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Steven C. Macon said...

You make a great point here! Words carry father than we intend sometimes. Something to ponder.

ishhu said...


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