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By William Campbell
Elder - Mission Bible Fellowship 

Words and Birds


I recently relearned a lesson I thought I had already learned and thought I understood...words are like birds, once they’re out of the cage, they’re often hard to recapture. Why is it so easy to find fault in others and so difficult to see it in ourselves?

As I was reading a story recently regarding a married couple, I was reminded of the saying, “Women’s faults are many, men have only two, everything they say and everything they do.”

The story was written by a gentleman by the name of Carl Windsor. He told of an elderly woman giving advice to a young lady regarding her upcoming marriage. About to celebrate her golden wedding anniversary, she relayed the secret to a long and happy marriage. “On my wedding day, I decided to make a list of my husbands faults which, for the sake of our marriage, I would overlook,” she said. The young woman asked what the faults were that she had listed. “To tell you the truth my dear, I never did get around to listing them. But whenever my husband did something that made me hopping mad, I would say to myself, “Lucky for him that’s one of the ten.”

But not to let myself off the hook (lest I forget again), I had forgotten the admonition of Matthew chapter 7, beginning in verse 3, “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brothers eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Someone once said that, “He who presumes to teach the Bible must first live it; he is never a scholar, but always a student.”

The lessons of the Bible are clear (though not always remembered). By the measure we use to judge others, so also by that measure will we be judged. Judging, criticizing and finding fault come as surely to the Saint as to the sinner. Yet when we are living in the Spirit, we are checked by that Spirit. Yet often we go forward in a day, so caught up in self, that we ignore the checks of the Spirit.

James reminds us that we should all be “Slow to speak, quick to listen, and slow to become angry.”  And later, “Take ships as an example. Although they are large and driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts.”

All this is written as a reminder to myself and I share it only that others might learn by my mistakes and be saved from the self that always seems to speak first without benefit of thought.

Words, like birds, should be released slowly and with great thought from captivity.


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