Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What To Do With Words

The competition begins with two volunteers and two cans of shaving cream. 

Round 1 – the first one to empty their can of shaving creams wins!

Round  2 – the first one to put all the shaving cream back in their can wins!

Just as we can never put the shaving cream back in the can, we can never really take back the words we say.

Like trying to un-shoot a gun, or un-ring a bell, un-saying a word is impossible.

The words we say are as immortal as anything can be in this world.

So be careful what you say.

That’s part one of this little message.

Part two is: what do you do after you say your words.

Take a look at that pile of shaving cream. You can’t put it back in the can. But what you do with it is important. 

It would be funny – to someone, at least – to take that pile and push it into someone’s face. A whole movie genre is base on that concept!

But let’s think of this in relation to our words and what we do with the aftermath of saying them.

And here I’ll use an unlikely character – Judas Iscariot.

14 Then one of the twelve, whose name was Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15and said, "What will you give me if I deliver him over to you?" (Matthew 26:14-15 ESV)

Judas said these words. He couldn’t take them back. He couldn’t “un-say” them. The chief priests were expecting Judas to do with what he said he would do.

And, of course, Judas did just that.

But there was still hope for Judas. He couldn’t put the shaving cream back in the can, but he could have cleaned up the shaving cream by asking Jesus to forgive him. He didn’t do that, though. Instead, Judas decided – wrongly, I add vehemently – that Jesus wouldn’t forgive him.

And Judas gave up any future he would have had with the forgiveness Jesus won for him – and all of us – on the cross.

Do not give up as Judas did. The shaving cream can never go back in the can. But we can clean it up instead of spreading it around.

In the same way we can never “un-say” our words. But we can clean up their mess with words of love and kindness, with words of Jesus’ love and kindness.

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