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Speaking in love can make a difference in life

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POSTED: January 13, 2013 4:00 p.m.

“When you get to the fork in the road, take it.” “Nobody ever goes there because it’s always too crowded.” “We made too many wrong mistakes.” “A nickel ain’t worth a dime anymore.”

All of these statements are quotes from the lips of the great baseball player, Yogi Berra. Actually, these are only four of the quotes in a top-25 list of Yogi Berra quotes I found. He said some funny things. On one occasion, when asked about the things he had said, he responded, “I didn’t say half the things I said.”

OK, then. There you go.

The fact is that we all have said things that were in some way embarrassing. We have all said things that we wish we could have back.

The difference is that some of us have said them in more public settings. Berra, because he was the catcher for the New York Yankees, constantly had a microphone stuck in his face. The more you say, the greater the odds that something wrong will be said.

For instance, I once looked directly into the eyes of a young bride, handed her the wedding ring that her maid of honor had given to me, and said, “Please take this finger and place it on the ring of your groom.” Fifty years ago, a pastor could have denied saying that, no matter how many people said otherwise. Weddings today are recorded.

And there have been many other times that, as my granny used to say, “I have gotten my tangue tongled up.” And no, that is not misspelled. It means what you think it means. We all trip over our tongues.

But the tragic thing is that, at times, we intentionally speak words that are not beneficial. We intentionally say things that are mean-spirited and hurtful. And we do this while still attending worship and Bible study.

The word of God has something to say about that in James 3:9-10. There we read, “With the tongue we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

James is reminding us in these verses that the words we say have power. He is saying that it is hypocritical to claim to love and serve the Lord, but hurt others with the same lips we use for praise.

I am afraid that so many of us are guilty of such behavior. And it is my prayer that we will stop excusing ourselves and make the commitment to speak as Jesus would speak. We are to speak the truth, but always in love. Love is to be the trait that characterizes the follower of Jesus.

Let us be careful to speak in love. What a difference it will make in our lives.

 

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