Tuesday, May 25, 2004
Now, I grew up in Illinois, so, well, I'm impressed by the mountains in the eastern United States. I mean the highest are around, you know, like 3,000 feet. That's pretty good for Illinois, but my friends from the Rockies think the eastern mountains are like, well, glorified hills. In Colorado, they brag about the mountains they call the 14ers - those that are over 14,000 feet. That's impressive, but when I was in Ecuador, I was awed by the volcanoes that ring the capital city of Quito, and they rule much of the countryside - like Anasana for example - 18,000 feet. It dwarfed the tallest peaks I had ever seen. And then my host really amazed me. He said, "You know, Ron, some experts believe that Anasana used to be even higher." They think it was as much as 28,000 feet high. Well, so much for Colorado's 14ers. I said, "What happened?" Well, the volcano blew its top one day, and though the eruption lasted only a short time, the damage has lasted ever since.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Volcano Scars."
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Proverbs 12:18. It says, "Reckless words pierce like a sword." Now, that's the awesome power of our angry, irresponsible words. Proverbs 18:21 says that "the tongue has the power of life and death." Now we can say things that make a person feel more alive ... or dead inside. You've had it happen to you, haven't you?
When we're angry, we're a lot like a volcano. We erupt, we spew out our lava, and we often blow away a piece of the other person - if not ourselves. And every one of us carries around parts of us that have been mortally wounded by something someone said to us in anger. They may well have forgotten it; we can't ever forget it. See, those are volcano scars. So why do we do this to other people - usually the people we love the most?
The Bible pays a high tribute to a person who's under control. Proverbs 16:32 says, "Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who conquers a city." That's real manhood.
If you're tired of erupting and leaving volcano scars on people, maybe it's time to follow the steps to becoming an extinct volcano.
Number one: confess your anger and your reckless words as the sin that they really are. Bring it to Jesus' cross and treat it as some of the ugly sin that literally killed our Savior, and confess it to the victims of your anger, too. Secondly, don't let the lava build up. Deal with issues right away. Thirdly, make yourself listen and ask questions before you speak. James 1:19 says, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger." If you listen, you'll be slower to anger. And then fourthly, don't say anything at all until you're under control. And then the fifth step to becoming sort of an extinct volcano is to make Jesus Christ the Lord of the raging animal inside you. We've all got one. That's the uncontrollable parts of us that are constant reminders that we need a Savior.
Give it to Him for this new day. If volcanoes could think, maybe they'd think twice about blowing their top. The volcano might reason, "You know, maybe I'll feel better for a while, but is it worth blowing away a part of myself? Is it worth blowing away a part of a person I love?" Well, we can think - and we know it's not worth it. The tongue has the power of life and death - and "reckless words pierce like a sword." Haven't we left enough volcano scars?