Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? (James 3:11)

FOLLOWING A RECENT STORM, widespread power outages placed us under a “boil water notice.” The equipment at the wastewater plant was offline, so there was potentially untreated water in the lines. Unseen bacteria could make us sick.

I found myself reluctant to drink from our tap for several days after the notice was lifted. Just knowing it could dispense contaminated water was unsettling. I’d never considered that although our water runs clear and tastes fine, it isn’t necessarily safe.

Anyone who has been on the receiving end of insincere flattery or a “white lie” knows that words sometimes come from impure sources too. People who use such words insist that they’re being kind, but they end up hurting others’ feelings and eroding trust. Like untreated water, speech that derives from unclean motives will eventually make someone sick.

It’s easy to run our mouths without giving due consideration to what we’re trying to achieve, particularly when we think we’re being helpful. Perhaps before we speak, we should prayerfully examine whether we’re more interested in benefiting ourselves than building the other person up. If so, our words aren’t suitable for consumption.

Restraining our tongues isn’t easy, but it’s an act of love. It gives the Spirit time to treat the well of our hearts so that when we do open the taps, only life-giving words proceed forth.

When tempted to offer unsolicited advice, pray for the person first.

Johnathan Kana lives with his wife and two children in rural central Texas. When he’s not writing, he enjoys playing piano and composing music.

© 2018 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.