Eek! There’s a WHAT on the Plane?
Job 19:2 “How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words?”
While listening to the radio, my ears perked up at the teaser of an upcoming breaking news story. It seems that a plane filled with passengers departed a prominent airport but was immediately forced to turn around and land due to some sort of imminent danger. I rather impatiently waited through the next five commercials to hear details of this traumatic event. Finally, it came. Thankfully, the plane was able to make an emergency landing and all passengers were safe. But, the cause totally took me by surprise. It was not engine failure, not a terrorist attack, not a medical emergency. Are you ready for it? It was a mouse! You read that right – A MOUSE, as in M-I-C-K-E-Y! It seems a single mouse was spotted on the plane and the entire plane was forced to turn around, land, and deplane.
I smiled at this “emergency” that necessitated the landing of a 400,000-pound plane with the culprit being a mouse weighing in at a whopping 1/20th of one pound! The news reporter, anticipating the listeners’ disbelief, went on to explain further. The decision was made to land the plane not because the mouse frightened the passengers, but because of the potential damage that a single mouse could inflict. It seems that a mouse has the ability to chew through wires. Severed wires can lead to failure of the plane’s mechanisms. And, failure of the mechanisms can cause a plane to crash, leading to the death of all passengers on the plane. Why? All because there was a mouse in the house! (Actually, on the plane but that doesn’t rhyme).
Just as a small mouse can bring down a huge 747 jet, our small tongues can wreak havoc and bring down family, friends, co-workers, spouses, and even perfect strangers. Our words can lead to the sudden death of our relationships with those who are on the receiving end of our tongue lashing.
One of the saddest verses in the Bible is found in Job. To set the scene, Job has climbed the ladder of success but has now lost everything and is in desperate need of encouraging words. His losses were vast: servants, goods, flocks, wealth, health, and children. He has three friends show up and offer many words, but none that encouraged. They accused him of getting what he deserved, said he did not fear God, and told him he should repent. Even Job’s wife, whom Satan ingeniously spared, gave him a final blow in “Curse God and Die!” We can feel Job’s incredible sorrow in his response in Job 19:2.
“How long will you torment my soul, and break me in pieces with words?”
Ever played the game Jenga where you build a tower of wooden blocks and pull out one block at a time until the tower tumbles? That’s what comes to my mind when I think of Job’s wife and friends. Their words attacked him, pulling him apart, and eventually weakening Job to the point of despair.
Thankfully, there are many godly uses for this small but mighty tongue and it is our choice how we use it. We can choose to speak truth in love or we can choose to speak lies in hatred. We can choose to build each other up to success or we can choose to tear each other down to destruction. We can season our words with grace or we can speak gossip born from jealousy. We can choose to encourage or we can choose to discourage. The choice of words is ours and the ones we speak are the audio of our true character.
Dear Father, give us the strength to choose our words wisely knowing that through them, others can hear you.