Careless Words

broken-eggs-basket-diversifyI tell you that on the day of judgment people will have to account for every careless word they speak. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37)

Careless words get us into trouble.

What exactly qualifies a word as careless? Anything we speak without giving sufficient attention or thought to avoiding harm or errors. It’s the words we speak without enough concern. And that concern involves so many aspects. Concern for truth. Concern for impact. Concern for motivation.

Motivation matters.

Just a few verses before, we find, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart.” (Matthew 12:33-34)

Careless describes our words and our motivations. It also describes us.

In Response to the Colorado Shooting

So encourage each other and give each other strength, just as you are doing now. (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is the Father who is full of mercy and all comfort.He comforts us every time we have trouble, so when others have trouble, we can comfort them with the same comfort God gives us. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Since we have a great high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has gone into heaven, let us hold on to the faith we have. For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin. Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it. (Hebrews 4:14-16)

Pig Poop

It was cold outside, which is why the water line was frozen. I’m not sure why Dad needed our help, but my sister and I bundled up and trudged to the barn with him. I don’t remember helping much. I just remember being cold and bored.

The frozen water line was at the edge of the concrete slab outside the barn. The hogs were smarter than to be outside on such a nasty day. The one plus to the cold temperatures was that we didn’t have to slop through manure. It was frozen. I thought it wouldn’t be long before I was frozen, too.

Since I doubt Dad actually needed our help, I wonder if my sister and I were required to go outside with him for some type of punishment. I’m not sure, but I think having us invade his workspace was probably more punishment for him than us. He found small jobs for us to do, but he was focused on finding and fixing the problem. I’m not sure what the problem was, but I remember the water beginning to flow and make a mess as it mixed with and melted the manure. As we slopped through it, we created more of a mess.

I’m not sure how it started. My sister and I were standing fairly close to each other, and one of us slopped a little manure toward the other. We discreetly moved our boots through the manure, lifting up just enough to splash onto each other. We challenged each other with more sweeping kicks until we seemed to have the same thought at once. We dared each other with our eyes…then reached down simultaneously to scoop the poop and fling it at each other.

We both got in several throws and were smart enough to use the throw-and-duck technique to avoid as much as possible. As disgusting as it sounds, we were having a blast.

Until…I stood up with a large scoop ready to catapult and toward my sister right as her handful reached me. It was a high throw, and I was laughing, which meant my mouth was open, and…yes…bulls-eye! My sister claimed she didn’t intend to hit me in the face, but I’m not so sure. It wouldn’t have been so bad had I not had my mouth open…and hadn’t just had braces put on my teeth!

The whole pig poop fight probably only took three minutes. My dad was preoccupied (and we were sneaky) through most of it, but realizing I’d just been hit in the face with a pile of pig poop while he was trying to work was the last straw. We were sent directly to the house – to the backdoor – and instructed to immediately take showers and wash our clothes. Of course, the first stop for me was for a toothbrush and toothpaste. My teeth already hurt from my new braces, but I scrubbed I hard as I could stand!

The lesson of the day for me was this: If you’re going to play in poop, you’re going to eventually stink…and the entire experience will leave a bad taste in your mouth.

It started off as something to curb boredom. It was kind of funny. It was something to do. But we hadn’t thought through the possibilities. Never would I have imagined I’d be brushing my teeth in tears within ten minutes of laughing and playing.

When have you started something you never imagined would become the mess it became? When did a small choice end in a mess?

Stay out of the pig poop of life. It stinks and leaves a bad taste in your life.

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between good and bad and will choose the good; that you will be pure and without wrong for the coming of Christ; that you will be filled with the good things produced in your life by Christ to bring glory and praise to God. Philippians 1:9-11

This Week’s 7 – Verses to Encourage

Each Monday on the Pure Purpose blog, I feature This Week’s 7, a simple list about an everyday topic, giving you ideas and encouragement. This week features pure encouragement. Read it. Speak it. Declare it. God’s Word is powerful.

  1. I told you these things so that you can have peace in me. In this world you will have trouble, but be brave! I have defeated the world. John 16:33
  2. So don’t worry, because I am with you. Don’t be afraid, because I am your God. I will make you strong and will help you; I will support you with my right hand that saves you. Isaiah 41:10
  3. God did not give us a spirit that makes us afraid but a spirit of power and love and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
  4.  I keep the Lord before me always. Because he is close by my side, I will not be hurt. Psalm 16:8
  5. Give your worries to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will never let good people down. Psalm 55:22
  6. The Lord is good, giving protection in times of trouble. He knows who trusts in him. Nahum 1:7
  7. Give all your worries to him, because he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

Leave a comment with another verse that encourages you. Share the encouragement!

A Chance to Respond

I recently drained the battery of the van while sitting in Kohl’s parking lot waiting for the girls to get done shopping. Instead of waiting for roadside assistance, I thought of someone who lives ten minutes away. He was soon on his way. Just as I was wondering how he was going to pull alongside the van when he arrived, the car to my left backed out. I jumped out to stand in the empty space, hoping to keep it clear until help arrived.

Busy department store. An empty parking space close to the doors. Congested shopping a couple days before Christmas. Well…at least it wasn’t as cold as it had been recently. I watched many faces of people who spotted the great parking spot and frantically tried to reach it before someone else. I saw puzzling looks when they saw me standing in the space. I’d smile and motion for someone to roll down a window so I could apologize for the inconvenience after a brief explanation that I was trying to save the space for someone to help me.

What a myriad of responses…

  • Several smiled understandably.
  • A couple people asked if I needed help. 
  • One asked if I needed jumper cables. “No, thanks,” I said. He responded, “Well, I don’t mind jump-starting the car if you let me park here.”
  • One man looked as if he didn’t believe me but later walked by and told me how odd it was that I couldn’t start my van. His wife had the same issue two rows from the same parking space a couple weeks earlier. He arrived to help and was waiting for an adjacent space. When it became available, someone quickly zipped into it and refused to move even after hearing their story.
  • One man told me he wouldn’t make a big deal about it, but if he came out and saw I’d simply been saving the space for a friend, I might find my tires slashed. I didn’t know if he was kidding. It hadn’t occurred to me that people would think I was scamming.
  • One car, driven by a young woman accompanied by, perhaps, her mom, began to pull into the space despite me standing in it. I motioned for the mom to roll down the window. The driver kept inching her way closer to me. I explained, and the mom laughed while looking at her daughter, who looked disgusted and determined to move forward. She sat there for at least 30 seconds, staring straight ahead. The mom continued to laugh and look between me and her daughter. I apologized several times and thanked them for understanding. The car began to move slightly, but just as it passed me a little more, the driver tried to cut back into the space – then slammed on her brakes, rolled her eyes and drove on.

I have to admit…there have been times I’ve responded with irritation when I feel inconvenienced. There are times I respond with irritation when I feel inconvenienced. I hope those times are less frequent, but I’m just being honest – I don’t always respond with patience, love and understanding.

We can all find situations in which we’ve been generous. We sacrifice our time or convenience for someone else. But what about the times we respond on the other end of the spectrum? In what situations have you responded with anger, irritation or apathy when you could have responded with patience, generosity, and compassion?

Be honest with yourself. And watch for opportunities to choose well…today.

This is my prayer for you: that your love will grow more and more; that you will have knowledge and understanding with your love; that you will see the difference between good and bad and will choose the good. Philippians 1:9-10