Put a Lid on It
Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark (James 3:5, NIV).
Friend to Friend
From the time I could hold a crayon in my chubby little hand, I’ve enjoyed creating various works of art. For my family and friends, my annual endeavors usually found their way under the Christmas tree and into their hands. One year it was macramé hanging plant holders woven with wooden beads. Another it was a menagerie of decoupage wooden boxes. Then there were the years of framed cross-stitch, ceramic Nativity sets, and quilted pig and chicken pillows. (Can I apologize now to any of my friends who received a stuffed pig or chicken pillow?)
When I was 17, it was the year of the candle. Everyone from Grandma Edwards to my best girlfriends received praying hands candles. For weeks I slaved over a hot stove, stirring melted wax, meticulously centering the ten-inch wicks, and then slowly pouring the red, green, or yellow molten material into an inverted mold in the shape of praying hands. When the wax hardened, I burped the rubber mold and plopped the hands onto the counter. My kitchen looked like a prostheses laboratory with hands littering the counters.
I was just cooking up my last batch of wax when the doorbell rang. I was having so much fun in my laboratory, that I forgot the time. I had a date at 7:30, and here I was in pink curlers and a paraffin-covered sweatshirt. I rushed through the kitchen, leaped over my dad, who had fallen asleep on the den floor in front of the television, and threw open the door.
“Hi, Jim. Come on in,” I said, out of breath. “I’m not ready.”
“So I noticed,” he said with a grin.
“I was cooking candles and lost track of time.”
“You were what?”
“Oh, never mind. Just come on in and have a seat on the couch. I’ll be ready in a minute.”
I dashed to my room, change clothes, took the curlers our of my hair, ran a brush through the tangles, swiped mascara through my lashes, and placed a hint of gloss on my lips. Jim sat uncomfortably on the sofa, listening to my dad snore and Jackie Gleason yell at Ralph Kramden. After about 15 minutes Jim smelled something burning from the kitchen. He didn’t want to call me for fear of waking up my dad. (Teenage boys don’t like to wake up their date’s dad if they can help it.) Instead, he tiptoed into the kitchen and discovered a pot on the stove with flames shooting up about 18 inches in the air.
Sleeping dad or no sleeping dad, Jim yelled, “Sharon! Whatever you were cooking is on fire!”
“Oh my goodness!” I exclaimed. “I forgot to turn the stove off!”
Just as I burst into the kitchen, Jim threw a cup of water into the flaming wax. Rather than extinguish the flames, the fire exploded upward. The flames shot up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side of the room. Our screams alerted my father, who woke to see his baby girl standing in a room surrounded by flames. With the agility of Superman, Dad sprang to his feet, ran to the kitchen faster than a speeding bullet, grabbed the lid of the pot, and clamped it down on the source of the flames. Just as quickly as the fire had erupted, it seemed to recede back into the pot like a genie returning to his bottle.
This all happened in a matter of seconds. We stood in the middle of the room like three stunned deer. I never did tell my dad that it was Jim who threw the water on the burning wax. Teenage boys already have two strikes against them just by walking through the doors to pick up a man’s baby girl.
After the shock of the incident wore off, I had time to reflect on the speed at which the flames blazed around the room, the feeling of fire licking against my skin, the terrifying swooshing sound the fire made. I thought about my words and how easily they can explode and singe those around me. I saw and understood the destructive power of our words and the speed at which that destruction can spread.
But you know what else I learned? I learned just how easy it is to stop the blaze…put a lid on it. As soon as my father placed a lid on the pot and removed the flames’ source of oxygen, the fire went out.
Job had the right idea when he said, “I will put my hand over my mouth” (Job 40:4). It is interesting that my hand fits perfectly over my mouth. Give it a try. I bet yours does too. Perhaps God made it that way on purpose.
Here’s what I do know: Some of the most powerful words are the ones we don’t speak. Sometimes we just need to keep a lid on it.
Dear Lord, set a guard over my mouth. Keep watch over the door of my lips. May nothing escape my mouth today that is not pleasing to You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Proverbs 26:20. What do you learn about how to stop gossip? How does this relate to today’s devotion?
Has there been a time you wish you had “put a lid on it.” (I know that is a silly question. Who hasn’t?)
Today, set a pot lid out on your kitchen counter as a reminder to put a lid on your words. You might want to leave it out for more than a few days.
Click on my Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/sharonjaynes page and leave a comment if you are willing to leave a pot lid on your kitchen counter as a reminder to watch your words. Also, you can send me a picture of your pot lid atSharon@sharonjaynes.com and I’ll post that as well!
More from the Girlfriends
You have a powerful force, right under your nose. To learn more about how to use your words wisely and control your tongue, see my nook, The Power of a Woman’s Words. One way you can use your words well is to pray for your husband. Come visit us over at The Praying Wives Club and pay for your man.
On September 8, 2014, I’ll begin my on-line fall Bible Study on The Power of a Woman’s Words. I have the book and Bible study guide specially priced for the months of August and September. Those who sign up will receive access to free video lessons and a free video viewing guide. Click here to view a sample video lesson. This is perfect for church groups, small groups, or individual study. Click here to sign up and learn more. We’re going to learn about the power we possess, the people we impact, and the potential to change. Hope to see you there!
A good video by Joyce Meyer – I haven’t listened to it yet though 🙂 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77elF_bQ3E0