Today’s Scripture: When I therefore was thus minded, did I use lightness? or the things that I purpose, do I purpose according to the flesh, that with me there should be yea yea, and nay nay? But as God is true, our word toward you was not yea and nay. 2 Corinthians 12:17-18.

Sometimes when we experience mistreatment, false judgment, or unfair circumstances, we want to speak exactly what we are feeling. When we let loose, it’s almost as though we are shooting off a gun into the forest. At first it seems to have done no damage, but in reality, the trees are all marked up and bullets are scattered everywhere. That area will never be the same again.

Our words are like shots fired from a shotgun – we can never take them back, and they can cause irreversible damage. If we do not want to experience regret, we must keep in mind that everything we say should line up with what God would say. As we look back on Scripture, we see that the Apostle Paul faced some very unfair nagging accusations. The congregation in Corinth that was once singing his praises quickly turned to tearing down his testimony over a simple change of plans. They were upset because Paul was not able to visit them when he said he would. Because Paul said he was going to come back and visit them and didn’t, they began coming up with reasons as to why he didn’t come. “He’s not a man of his word.” “He went through all of those trials because he is not a man of God.” But, as we read in II Corinthians 1:12-24, Paul was able to stand firm upon his testimony because he truly had a clear conscience. I hope like the apostle Paul that we can say that we have a clear conscience. Instead or responding amiss, he simply spoke the truth. I am sure after those people had time to consider their words; they were embarrassed that those thoughts ever left their lips.

Although we are all offered forgiveness, the words that we have spoken can never be taken back. Like the shots fired in the forest, they are irreversible. Rather than tearing down our leaders, coworkers, family and friends, we need to be seeking to edify them even if they sometimes rub us the wrong way. No matter what has been said to us, we can choose to speak lies and make false judgments like the Corinthians did or we can be straightforward like Paul. Despite the circumstances, we must say what we mean and mean what we say.

Devotional by Jim Scudder Jr.