He who guards his mouth preserves his life, But he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction. Proverbs 13:3 (NKJV)
Around our house lately, weekends have been all about barn raising. Slowly but surely, we are building a place in our back field to shelter my horse so I can finally bring him home. I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, so am excited that the barn is finally taking shape. It will take us a while longer because we are building it ourselves. In an effort to save money, we are investing our time and sweat into the construction. Every weekend and some evenings find us measuring wood, lifting boards, and nailing on the framework. We are blessed to have many friends who have come by periodically to help. We couldn’t do it without them or their equipment that they have so willingly loaned us. A tractor with a bucket, a bobcat with a lift and friends to operate them make things so much easier. Without them, we have to climb on ladders and lift material by hand. That makes for a very cranky husband, wife and children. One evening, we came close to divorcing each other. Not only Glen and I, but also we considered divorcing our kids. Despite an infestation of mosquitoes and sand gnats, rapidly fading light and hungry stomachs, we pushed through trying to finish the work we had started. However, before we could get to a stopping place, patience wore thin and harsh words started to flow. We ended up quitting before the last board could be nailed into place and sat down at the dinner table so angry with each other that no one spoke through the entire meal. Today, it was my job to take down the scrap lumber we used to stabilize the framework, remove the nails from the wood and place it in a pile. My friend, Bethany helped me. We examined each board for nails, hammered them from the wrong side until they were almost loose then, pulled them out of the boards. No matter how much we tried, neither of us was able to remove a straight nail from the wood. They twisted and bent. In most cases, the nail tip once sharp tip, was so damaged, it could not be reused and where each nail had been remained a hole marking its former location. The nails, crooked and useless, as well as the spot in each board made me think about the effect of my words that angry evening. How I wished I had kept silent when tempers started to flare. If only one person had remained calm, perhaps such an ugly scene might not have unfolded. But, once the words were spoken, I could not retrieve them and the harm was done. Despite an apology and some time, irritation has faded, but my harsh words will leave their mark. Like nails hammered into a board, my tongue used improperly twists and shapes the hearts of those I love. What about you? Remember the wise words of Proverbs 13:3 and guard your mouth today.