Updated: Apr 16
"Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall." Proverbs 16:18
IT ONLY TAKES ONCE...
How many of us as parents have thought or said something like that to our children about things they are doing? I would imagine most of us.
This happened recently to me when my son stood at the top of our outdoor play structure. He looked over at me and my wife, as we sat on the patio, and told us, "Watch me!" You all know what that means. It means some kid, mine this time, is about to do something they think they are awesome at. And because it's so awesome, they don't want you to miss it.
Kids are sweet like that...
This time, it was my son declaring that he was going to jump off the top of the 5 foot high play house to the ground. He told us things like, "I am really good at this!", "I've already done this lots of times" and "I won't get hurt, I promise."
When warned by his mother that he should probably not try it, he confidently declared, "I'll be fine!"
At this point, I am watching, like a good father would, as my flip-flop wearing son squats down and places his toes just at the edge of the play structure's platform. He looks down at climbing ladder that he intends to jump over to achieve his goal of landing safely on the ground, and then his face gets serious.
And then...he face-plants on the grass!
Now, before you think I'm a terrible father, I did laugh at this sight (I mean it was like watching America's Funniest Home Videos again). BUT, only after checking to make sure that my son was ok...which he was. I guess you could say he was "facing" a hard time like a champ! (I know...bad joke)
My son, however, was less humored by the situation. He didn't think it was funny, becuase something had gone wrong. This is not how he saw things playing out. This was not his plan. He was SURE that he was going to land safely. WHAT HAPPENED?
Remember that little detail I mentioned earlier? He was wearing flip-flops while attempting this daring feat of strength and courage. (note to self...don't try to be courageous in flip-flops.)
As he was descending in glory to his landing, one of his flip-flops got caught on the climbing ladder he was attempting to jump over. And, if I know one thing, it's that once a climbing ladder grabs your flip-flop you may as well just "face" the music. Or in this case the ground. (I know...I'll stop.)
I think if we were honest, we'd all have to admit that we get tripped up by some of the dumbest things at times. Things that we don't really think are going to cause any harm end up costing us greatly. Because, as we've discussed, it only takes once.
THINK TWICE, BEFORE IT HAPPENS ONCE
James has some wisdom for us that I think we should pay attention to. Listen to what he says,
"Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless." James 1:26
Those are harsh words, but they communicate a simple truth.
Everything. Every promise. Every relationship. Every influence. Every good moment. Every plan. Every lesson taught. Every victory. It can all be undone by a lack of control over your tongue. It's like the flip-flop of your life.
It can trip you up and make all other things, including your religion, worthless.
So let me caution you. Think twice before it happens once...
FACE-UP INSTEAD OF FACE-PLANT
James isn't done giving instructions to believers on controlling your tongue and the harm it can cause when you don't. He comes back to it in chapter 3 with a vengeance. And so will we at another time.
But right now, I want you to consider if you have been letting your tongue get the best of you with your kids. Boss. Friends. Spouse. Mother-in-law. Complete strangers on social media 🙄. Here's my advice - Stop it. Think twice before you let those words fly, send that text or email, or post that comment on the thread.
If you do, and you make the wise choice, you may prove that your religion, your faith, is not worthless. At the moment you exercise self-control over your flip-flopping tongue, you find out how priceless your faith is.
But these are things that only YOU can "face-up" to, and hopefully you will before you "face-plant."
Heavenly Father, I can be prideful in many ways, and letting my tongue fly or my words spill out uncontrolled is one of those ways. Please help me to stop and think before I speak. I don't want my faith, influence, or relationships to face-plant because I was careless with my words. I need your help to succeed. I ask you to give me wisdom and discernment as I exercise self-control in this area. In Jesus name, Amen.