The Lesson in the Baggage Claim
As I waited in the baggage claim, I instinctively knew that there was a problem with one of my bags. The first indicator was the condition of a box that had been mishandled. As the owner retrieved his crushed box from the conveyor belt, liquid spilled everywhere. Then shortly after I witnessed him and his family walk away in disgust, I noticed several bags with a familiar pink tinge. I immediately regretted packing the miracle pink stomach relief medication, but I reasoned that there may have been another person who had also packed wisely. Several seconds later, I saw that I was the guilty culprit. My embarrassment led me to make my second mistake. I turned to make a little joke to the lady standing beside me because thought laughter would somehow lighten the mood. Her expression should have made me stop in my tracks, but instead I stated, "Looks like my Pepto spilled." Unfortunately, she didn't find the humor in my lighthearted confession. As she turned to her daughter, she angrily spoke in a foreign language. She was not angry because I had attempted to make a joke, she was angry because her bag was also decorated in pink. Realizing that she did not understand my half-hearted confession, I did the same thing that she and her daughter did. I stared at my bag and acted confused as I pulled out my wipes and began to try to clean up this spill from the now "unknown" substance.
(I refused to look suspicious in the middle of the airport!)
When I reached my destination, I realized that there was more damage on the inside of the bag than what was evident on the outside. My makeup, medication, and jewelry were all covered with this lovely pink hue.
As I attempted to clean the contents along with the inside of my bag, I was reminded of the power of my words. Sometimes we may feel that our words are safely contained and will not seep out in an untimely manner. We may feel that if we get things off of our chest, we will feel better; however, we may not be sensitive to the damage that will occur if our words spill out under pressure. Spilled words. The right words spoken at the wrong time. Words spoken in a malicious manner. Words spoken without considering the consequences. Words spoken or repeated without considering the source. These spills may occur because the heart has not been guarded or secure. These spills affect others as much as they affect the speaker. Lastly, once these spills occur, it takes work to clean up and restore the after-effects of the damage. Before we allow negative emotions to cause us to speak out of order, use wisdom.
We have all heard the phrase, "think before you speak." As a child, I didn't give too much thought to that piece of advice. As I stood in the airport I saw vividly that words have the power to build up or to damage. How will you use your words today? Moving out of our assigned position may put us in a dangerous situation. While focusing on the gifts of others may cause us to operate outside of the grace that God has given us. This episode provides the encouragement needed to prevent us from moving too fast. Episode 4 of my podcast is designed with you in mind.