I'll tell you what kind of airplane passenger makes an interesting neighbor - someone who has never flown before! Flight attendants sometimes refer to them as white knuckle flyers from the way they hang on. My friend, John, was on his way to speak somewhere and since it was just a one day meeting he was dressed in the suit that he had with him. And that day John had the joy of sitting next to a lady who was on her rookie flight. She was as nervous as a long-tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs! Whenever there was a noise, like the landing gear retracting, she would say, "What was that?" And John would patiently explain. After they had been airborne a few minutes, Mrs. Rookie suddenly muttered, "I feel sick." Well, my friend hurriedly found that little discomfort bag in the pouch in front of her, the one they give you when your stomach doesn't want to keep what it has. Wouldn't you know it, a few moments later, John's neighbor turned to him and unloaded her lunch all over his only suit. And what was her only comment after redecorating him? "I feel so much better now." Yeah - well, how do you think he feels now?
Well, I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You about "Verbal Vomit."
Now, I know that's strong language but it might be what some of us need to get us thinking about the messy talk that is coming out of our mouth. It certainly isn't any stronger than the words God Himself uses to describe how we sound too much of the time. Some of the most revealing, convicting words in the Bible. James 3, our word for today from the Word of God, "If anyone is never at fault in what he says he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark, the tongue also is fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire and is set itself on fire by Hell. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the same mouth we praise our Lord and Father and with it we curse men who have been made in God's likeness. This should not be." Well, that's the end of God's words there.
God has made His feelings very clear, hasn't he? The way to see how Godly you really are is to listen to your talk - and not just the times you're talking spiritual talk. No sins can do as much damage, it seems, as verbal sins. Like forest fire, like deadly poison. Some of our most damaging trash talk takes place when we feel angry or attacked. That's when we dump all over the other person like, pardon me, verbal vomit. It's that gross, it's that repulsive, it's that unacceptable.
Like that woman on the plane, we say to ourselves, "Well, I feel better now; I told them; I put them in their place; I won this one; I had the last word." You did not put them in their place. You showed what a miserable place you're in! You did not win, you lost. You feel better, but look what you've done to them! The people we hurt the most are the ones we claim to love the most!
God says in Proverbs 12:18, "Reckless words pierce like a sword." I wonder how many deep wounds you've left today, maybe in the last few days? If people bled physically every time we wounded them verbally, I wonder what kind of a trail some of us would leave? It's time to listen to ourselves; to face the hypocrisy between our spiritual image and our private trash talk; to seek the forgiveness of the people we've hurt; to make our mouth the new frontier for the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Maybe then what comes out of our mouth will not only make us feel better, it will make them feel better too.