I’m sure most of you have seen the news stories about the California wild fires. Millions of dollars’ worth of damage has been done. If I understand it correctly, there was not just one big fire. Instead, there were several clusters of fires, each of which destroyed different areas. The story of one fire caught my attention. This particular fire destroyed 38,000 acres and destroyed 21 homes. Can you guess how it was started? A little boy accidentally started it by playing with matches.

When I read this story, I immediately thought of a verse in James:

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.
-James 3:5

Just as one match can burn a whole forest, our words have the power to cause untold destruction. The wrong words can pierce a child’s heart like an arrow, leaving wounds for years to come. Words spoken in anger can tear down a relationship—sometimes beyond repair.

In the same way, withholding words can be just as dangerous. A friend may desperately need encouragement, just like a drowning man needs a lifesaver to be thrown to him. We have the power to inspire and encourage, and we should do just that.

The tongue can bring death or life;
those who love to talk will reap the consequences.

-Proverbs 18:21

Choose your words carefully. Use them carefully.