Beauty surrounds us, but we usually need to be walking in a garden to know it - Rumi
On Sunday British Summer time came to an end so that the clocks were put back one hour to Greenwich Mean Time. That meant an extra hour in bed of course but it also means that the nights are drawing in and that winter is on its way. Soon Christmas will be upon us! Will it be a white Christmas this year? Only God knows the answer to that at this stage!
Have you ever wished you could turn back time? I expect you have. I know I have, sadly more than once. A rash word spoken in anger, or nowadays perhaps an intemperate tweet or post on social media. Sound familiar? What about engaging in gossip, whether face to face or on a social media site. Perhaps it seemed harmless at the time but should you really have got involved? Unfortunately it is all too easily done but impossible to take back once the word is uttered, the gossip spread, the post posted or the tweet tweeted. The damage has been done and however much you might wish to undo it, it cannot be undone.
Of course this is not a new phenomenon. Nearly three thousand years ago Solomon recorded a number of wise proverbs, some of which are included in the Old Testament book of that name. There we find that he had plenty of advice about keeping the tongue under control. For example, among the six things the Lord hates is 'a false tongue'.(Proverbs 6:17). Gossip was obviously well known in his day for he says: 'Gossip is sharp as a sword'(Proverbs 12:18 ) Perhaps he anticipated the coming of social media when he said: 'The tongues of the wise spread knowledge, the stupid talk a lot of nonsense'(Proverbs 15:2) Turning to the New Testament James in his letter 'to the twelve tribes dispersed throughout the world' has much to say about the use and abuse of the tongue in Chapter 3. The whole Chapter is well worth reading, or re-reading, but I will simply quote two verses: 'We use it[the tongue] to praise our Lord and Father; then we use it to invoke curses on our fellow men, though they are made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praises and curses. This should not be so, my friends.' James 3:9-10. However the best advice the Bible has to offer comes, once again from Solomon: Keep a guard over your lips and tongue and keep yourself out of trouble.' Proverbs 21:23.
So please, my friends, take that advice to heart; think before you speak and pray before you think because once the words have tripped from your tongue they cannot be recalled.
Peter is a father and a grandfather who has been retired from full time employment for a number of years