Grains of Sand
“Let a sleeping dog lie.” That old proverb holds great truth. The point is to not mess with a dog that may bite or maul you if it is jolted from sleep to being fully alert. As long as it sleeping, there is no danger to anyone. If an animal that is prone to bite is awakened, the nature of the dog is to inflict pain on the one that disturbed him.
We can be the person that is forever “waking the dog”. Some have the proclivity to just keep harping on some wrong done, some words that were spoken, or some mistake that was made until the person hearing the constant criticism lashes out in anger and in frustration. Granted there are some huge infractions that can surely be forever “game changers” in a relationship, but most of the time, it is the “grains of sand” that irritate.
When any of us hears the same criticism over and over from a person that is a parent, teacher, coach, supervisor, or peer, the toll of that constant barrage is damaging. That one that is the subject of a bad report can struggle with their self-image and with confidence in their interaction with people. If the criticism is frequent enough and spoken both publicly and privately, the result can be permanent damage to a person’s well-being. Speaking ill can also lead to doing things that are unkind to the one that is constantly spewing vicious characterizations. We see weekly the riots and violence incurred because of words that erupted in deeds that led to destruction.
In l880, James Garfield was elected president of the United States, but after only six months in office, he was shot in the back with a revolver. He never lost consciousness. At the hospital, the doctor probed the wound with his little finger to seek the bullet. He couldn’t find it, so he tried a silver-tipped probe. Still he couldn’t locate the bullet.
They took Garfield back to Washington, D.C. Despite the summer heat, they tried to keep him comfortable. He was growing very weak. Teams of doctors tried to locate the bullet, probing the wound over and over. In desperation they asked Alexander Graham Bell, who was working on a little device called the telephone, to see if he could locate the metal inside the president’s body. He came, he sought, and he too failed. The president hung on through July, through August, but in September he finally died-not from the wound, but from infection. The repeated probing, which the physicians thought would help the man, eventually killed him. (copied).
Speech can be deadly as well. Scriptures often remind us to remove ill-speaking from our lifestyle. Here are some examples…2 Timothy 2:16 – But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness. 2 Timothy 2:23 – But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels. Ephesians 4:29 – Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Psalm 34:12-14 – What man is there who desires life and loves many days, that he may see good? Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it. Proverbs 10:11 – The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence.