Jeremiah 15:19

This is how GOD answered me: "Take back those words, and I'll take you back. Then you'll stand tall before me. Use words truly and well. Don't stoop to cheap whining. Then, but only then, you'll speak for me. Let your words change them. Don't change your words to suit them.

Comments Under Lock and Key

Last week I stood in line at a "convenience" store for a very long time.  While I waited to pay for gas, those ahead of me paid for many things. There was as always the ever-popular beer, cigarettes, and pops.  There were chips and skoal and more beer.  The lady immediately in front of me, dressed in camouflage coveralls topped with a bright orange hunting vest, wanted a certain brand of cigarettes that the clerk behind the counter could not find.  The lady, the customer, insisted that the clerk continue to look.  The clerk, aiming to please, continued to look. She looked high and low and high and low again. When she had done that several times she went to the back storage room to look some more.   As I and three more people behind me "patiently" waited the cigarette searching customer turned and said, "Sorry to hold y'all up but I know they have 'em, she just don't know where to look."

I just smiled. The guy behind me grumbled and mumbled.  The guy behind him said, "I ain't got all day."  The healthy-sized lady behind him left her honey bun, cashew nuts, and Diet Coke on the counter and said, "I won't be back in here," as she huffed and puffed out the door.  At that, the clerk came back, empty-handed, and once again told the customer there were no cigarettes by the name she had asked for.  The customer cursed the clerk, left in a rage, the clerk seemed devastated,  but  I finally happily got to pay for my gas.  I smiled at the young girl and said, "Nothing beats a failure but a try, today will get better." She smiled.

 If you are observant it is funny the things you can observe when you are stuck in line waiting. Of course most obvious were the clerk and customers I have described, the items they purchased or wanted to purchase, what one of them wore, and what they said, all the comments they made.  Speaking of comments, there is one thing I observed while standing in the long long line that I have failed to mention. By the register was a small white box mounted on the wall. On the front of the box were bold black letters which said, "Comments or Suggestions."  Also on the front of the box was a huge silver Master lock.   I wondered why would you need a Master lock on a comment box.  Were the comments of great value? Did they think some of these customers such as myself and all those who shared the line with me would steal them, go sell them for a lot of cash and spend it somewhere else? Maybe they would spend it at another convenient place down the road other than this one that actually would have the kind of cigarettes the irate camouflaged customer was hunting for.  Again I thought maybe it is just that all customer comments are meant to be top secret, not to be shared with anyone. Of course today, this had not been the case. All comments were shared, aired loud and clear for all to hear. No one bothered to write down what they thought and inconspicuously drop the thoughts in the white box with the master lock when no one was looking. 

We humans usually do have something to say about everything.  Many times we speak and stick our foot in our mouth and wish we would have bitten our tongue and never said anything.  It would probably be a good idea, to first think of our comments and suggestions, write them down, look at them, and then if we think they make any sense whatsoever, go ahead and share them.   What if the customers in the store had all simply smiled, said thank you and wrote down their comments on paper to stick in the locked box. If they had seen with their eyes what they were saying would they have seen the words were really uncalled for?  Each time we open our mouths we have a choice whether to speak blessings or cursings, good or evil.  We can build up or tear down.  We have the power to place locks on our comments and suggestions that are hurtful to others.  We have a Master who will guide us in His ways. His ways are to speak the truth in love.  His ways are for us to encourage one another. In this brand new year I suggest we all take the time to think before we speak. Observe the world around us and see there are so many hurting people who have been wounded with words.  This week find someone in your path who needs to hear a kind comment or suggestion that will build them up and guide them toward the Master who has the key to unlock hearts of stone and fill each with His love.