Posted by: mikenicholsblog | November 24, 2013

no band-aids necessary

Simply amazing! Something less than one-third the size a dime turned my world upside down.  Last Monday I was in a relaxed mood going through the airport on my way to Florida … but everything changed in a moment.  I was next in line to send my luggage through the scanner when it happened.  As I reached into my travel case to remove the 3 ounce items, my finger made direct and forceful contact with a brand new razor blade. I didn’t just nick the skin; I sliced a small portion completely off (sorry for the details). Pain and blood both erupted simultaneously, and I had yet to go through security.  You can imagine trying to pick up your supplies, put your shoes on,  and fix your belt all while painfully bleeding all over the place (I am a drama queen). A TSA agent got me to the bathroom and the cleanup began. One man gave me a whole pack of band-aids, and I made it to Florida with four band-aids gripping a little spot on my finger. How could something so small create such chaos for me?! My reading this morning reminded me that something small can create chaos for any of us.

Has a small thing called the tongue ever turned your world upside down? It may have been a heated comment or just a selfish one, but from the moment the words were spoken, you were looking for band aids. And the unintended consequence of misspoken words is that they seem to linger and are not easily forgotten. If you have ever been on the receiving side of painful words, you realize that the quick fix of a band-aid is often not enough. I am convinced that everyone reading this article has felt the pain of damaging words, and probably also inflicted the same. Over the next five weeks, all of us will experience the joys and stress that come with preparing and enjoying Christmas. There may even be some family issues during the season that could easily cause words to be spoken that are painful.

The reading that caused me to compare my momentary pain to the damage that can be wrought by a small thing called the tongue was from James 3:5-10: 

In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.  And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself. People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! (NLT)

Without knowing most of the people who will read these words, I feel impressed to come along side of you with a challenge. You and I both know what our tongues are capable of! There is no question that we also agree with the insight from the verses above. The key is, are we willing to be prepared emotionally and spiritually to live with a tongue full of grace during the next few weeks? You and I will both be tempted to speak our mind, which usually means creating a wound for someone else. Who wants to be putting band aids-on the wounds of painful words this Christmas season?

It took a few days this week before I removed the band-aids. Only minor pain still remains from my chaotic few minutes. But I will never open a travel case without remembering that moment. And my hope for you and for me is that no band-aids will be needed because of our words this year. One of my favorite verses in Scripture is Psalm 19:14:

May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (NLT)

Will you commit with me right now to let the words from your tongue be pleasing to Him during this stressful, but wonderful season? NO BAND-AIDS NECESSARY!


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