Despite his name I would hate for the Tasmanian Devil to become extinct. His only natural habitat is the Australian island-state of Tasmania. Because of his husky snarl and bad temper, he often has what is called a “devilish expression.” Since 2008 he has been on the endangered list. The reason? A cancer called, “devil facial tumor disease,” which results in grotesque tumors around the head and mouth. It is thought to be transmitted when they bite each other!
Today’s verse teaches that the words from our mouths can inflict pain and even destroy another. Life and death are in the power of the tongue (Proverbs 18:21). So much of what displeases the Lord comes from the mouth, whether it be gossiping, lying, mocking, arguing, criticizing, ….the list goes on. And each of these has such a devastating effect on the one to whom it is directed. What is more, the “tit for tat” reciprocity only escalates the problem until both parties are destroyed.
It is only by His Spirit that I can love and forgive the one who has inadvertently or intentionally hurt me. My memory is long when it comes to hurtful words. But I have definitely taken things a step further when I want to retaliate. There might be a momentary feeling of satisfaction but the relationship remains tense and broken. Forgiveness is so difficult but without it, the relationship is “endangered” and at risk of extinction. Realizing God’s forgiveness for me helps me get a better perspective on the whole mess. And His love and His power are there to make forgiveness and restoration possible. It is just not possible on my own.
Thank you Lord, that You heal those difficult relationships.