Reflection by Scott Stoner
This passage uses the image of a forest fire to demonstrate the power that our words have on one another. How accurate it is that the words we speak to one another can provide blessing and nourishment to others, just as a small fire in the wilderness can help cook our food, or provide warmth and comfort on a chilly evening. James also reminds us that the words we speak to one another can just as quickly destroy and harm. And, like a human-caused forest fire, it does not matter if the hurtful words we use are spoken on purpose, or are spoken because we are being careless; they are destructive either way.
As we continue to reflect on forgiveness within our families, let’s take a moment to reflect on what types of fires we are lighting with our words. Are we lighting fires that cause harm and destruction, or fires that provide nourishment and warmth? Are our words creating a blessing or a curse?
Bill Miller referred to the familiar saying, “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence,” when he wrote that the Prodigal Son “demanded his inheritance early, just so he could sniff out the greener grass he thought was far from home.” When it comes to family wellness, as the Prodigal Son learned, there is an even truer version of this saying: “The grass is greener where we water it.” If we water the relationships in our lives with kind and generous words, they will grow in ways that are healthy and life-giving. Our words and our blessings are one of the best ways we can water the lives of those closest to us.
Making It Personal: Is there a family member or friend who could use some words of blessing from you right now? What do you think of the idea that “the grass is greener where we water it”? Are any opportunities for forgiveness presenting themselves in your life right now because of harsh words that have been spoken?
Follow along with us this Lent season with our daily devotional and engage in discussion in our closed facebook group moderated by The Rev. Dr. Scott Stoner & The Rev. Jan Kwiatowski.
In this group, participants will have a chance to share their responses to the prompts in the daily readings, and also the chance to receive additional material for reflection.