I'm surrounded by smoke from fires burning in Idaho, Oregon and California. If you look at a map it looks like my small part of the world is completely on fire and if you stepped outside my house you'd believe it. The air quality is wavering between hazardous and unhealthy and it's horrible. The sky looks orange, hazy and gloomy and everything is covered in a thin layer of dust and ash. You can smell the acrid scent of smoke and every time you inhale smoke fills your lungs and stings making it hard to breathe. It's miserable for everyone. The closer you are to the fires the worse it is. And... each fire started with a small spark.
It's amazing really how many thousands of people are affected by something that started so small. Towns have been evacuated, homes destroyed, years of work and investment taken away in the wake of something that started with a small spark. Lives have been lost and changed forever. The physical and emotional wounds caused by these fires will for some last a lifetime. All because of a spark. Today as I was reading in James I saw this verse. "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. The tongue also is a fire" James 3:5-6a. It got me thinking about all the times I've been damaged by words and then about all the times my words have done damage to others. Some of the most painful situations in my life are tied to words being spoken about me and some of the greatest shame in my life is tied to words I spoke or ones I wish I would have. Can you relate? As I think about the power of words I'm overwhelmed by their strength and impact!