When a jar of pickled peppers falls off the refrigerator shelf onto the tile floor, it makes a big mess. I know this, because this morning found me on my hands and knees cleaning up peppers and sticky syrup and broken glass.
It was a small jar, but the mess created was worthy of a gallon bucket.
I should probably say here that I am known in my household for placing jars too close to the edge in the refrigerator, fitting one more thing on a shelf, thinking I will find a better place for that later.
This morning later happened.
The thing about a jar crashing onto the floor is that the damage is ongoing. I can clean up the immediate mess, place everything in the garbage, wash out the cleaning cloths and think, “Done!”, but it isn’t done. Little pieces of glass find their way into the oddest corners. I will come across them eventually, sometimes with a broom, sometimes with a foot. Managing to find and pick up every little piece at the time of the accident just doesn’t happen.
This morning, God reminded me, while I was on my knees cleaning, that my words and actions are just like that.
I can vent my frustration toward something or someone, and I can apologize, but little shards of hurt are hard to collect from the heart. I can thoughtlessly put my own feelings and needs first in a situation and make a big mess. The little pieces of remembrance that stick in the other person’s soul may hide from my regret for days or weeks or years.
There is always shrapnel from an explosion. Shrapnel is hard to clean up, and the wounds are difficult to mend.
Reminder to myself – prevention is better than clean up. Put the jars at the back of the refrigerator shelf!
Guard my actions and words toward others.
Pickled peppers and unkindness are both horrendous to clean up.
Proverbs 10:19 In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.
Proverbs 18:8 The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.
Proverbs 18:14 The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear?
Proverbs 18:21 Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. (Message)
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