My Second Mouth

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10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.

–James 3:10

I’m having surgery next week.

Yep, gonna have a second mouth installed.  Right in the back of my neck.

I figure it’ll cut way down on the time it takes for me to eat a meal.

And I’ll be able to give my wife a kiss and look at my iPhone at the same time, so that’s nice.

Oh, and harmonizing with myself?  It’ll be beautiful, I’m sure.

Of course, I predict some drawbacks with having two mouths.  Twice as much time brushing my teeth, for one thing.  And probably twice as many dental bills.

But that will be worth it for the main benefit having two mouths is going to give me:

My front mouth will be do the praising, and my back will be for cursing.

Isn’t that perfect? In that scripture up there, James is right when he says to do both out of the same mouth is just plain wrong.  It’s this mixing of the sacred and profane.

It’s a misuse of the mouth!

So now, with my second mouth, I can keep things separate.

My front mouth will be kind and gentle, faithful and humble.  I’ll have a kind word for everyone I see.

Meanwhile, my back mouth will be used for moments of road rage, commenting on idiots on the TV, and general gossip and hate speech.

It’s a great system.  As long as I can keep my back mouth shut when I’m at church. Or with my in-laws.

I wonder.  Which mouth will get more use?

And then I wonder this:  If I have a mouth designated for foulness, will I come to hate it?  Will I get tired of hearing the filth that comes out of it?

Imagine me, going through this whole surgery, only to get fed up and duct tape my second mouth shut.

Well, I guess that’s one way to cut down on my cursing.

Another way could be avoiding the surgery all-together, and trying to be more mindful of the words that pass through my lips.

God hears every word we utter, no matter how many mouths we have. So perhaps I can work to make the things I say a better reflection of the Grace God has given me.

In the end,

It’s better to practice graciousness and self-control,

than to go through life being two-faced about it.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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The Dump

Come with me, to the dump.

It’s a place you might just as soon avoid.

Did I mention, this is your dump?  Your dumping ground.

It stinks.

Over there, that pile?  That’s all the trash you’ve cleaned out of all your cars.

Back next to us is all the recyclable stuff that you didn’t recycle.

The huge, smelly pile in distance?  Leftovers you never got around to eating.

That’s not all.  There are piles of frowns that you caused other people to make.  And a big heap of opportunities you’ve wasted.

And look — towering over most of the rest of the piles is a mountain of lies you’ve told.

It’s all here.  It’s all laid out.  Every sin you’ve ever committed.

Every time you let God or your neighbor down.  Or yourself.

What a mess.  And believe me, I’ve got a dump, too.  Overflowing with disobedience and shamefulness.

What can be done with all of this?  Have we scarred the face of the Earth forever? Is this wretched dump the real reflection of who we are?

Wait.  Over there, coming over the hill, is a man.  Jesus.  Carrying a great big trash bag.

And as he walks, he scoops up your mess.   Great big gobs of it.  Way more than should fit in a single bag, but still he stuffs.

Rapidly he makes his way through your dump, shoving down broken promises, misplaced anger, even the grossest, wettest sins that lay hidden deep underneath the rest.

Stumbling under the weight of it all, Jesus passes by, a distant look on his face.

“Father, forgive them”, he says, heading off to another poor soul’s dump. “They don’t know what they are doing”.

And then we’re left in this empty space, once covered by your sin.

Underneath it all, there appears to be a garden.  I assume that’s true of my dump, as well.

A garden.

Are we prepared?  Are we prepared to tend our gardens?

Have a Holy Week,

Mitch

 

I fell asleep at my desk

asleep-1296292_960_720I fell asleep at my desk.

Not for long.  Just a few seconds.

It was that wasteland time between 1 and 2pm, after a big lunch, after the caffeine had worn off.

My eyelids started to flutter, and then close, and then…maybe a minute had passed.  I just drifted off, into one of those lazy flights of escape.

Sounds like a guy who needs a nap, right? Well, there’s a problem with that.

I gave up naps for Lent.

It’s been hard!  No naps, except on Sundays.  On Sundays I get to sleep my guts out.  (Not till after church).

The rest of the week, I’m challenged to stay awake during the day.

I’ve always grabbed little naps here or there.  20 minutes before a meeting, 30 minutes before dinner, that kind of thing.

But lately, it seemed like my naps were getting longer.  I was using them as an escape from the busy real world. Instead of giving me energy, they seemed to be sapping it.

I decided that maybe I could give that time to God, instead.

Remember Jesus, in the Garden?

40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”  –Matthew 26:40-41

I want to stand watch with Jesus.  I want my spirit to be willing.

But, alas, my flesh has proven to be weak on a couple occasions this Lent.  Sitting in my living room, I’ve found the need to close my eyes, just for a couple minutes.  And here, at my desk, the day’s work just seems too much to handle.

I take my eye off the prize, and then Zzzzzzzzzz.

As vigilant as you and I long to be, we may be destined to fall asleep on the job, to lose our focus, to give into our weaknesses.  It’s bound to happen every once in a while.

But if Lent accomplishes anything, it reminds us that being a living sacrifice for God does not mean achieving perfection.

It means being willing to take up the cross, even if we’ll fall.

It means following faithfully the path of Christ, even if we’ll stray.

It means living with our eyes wide open…

Well, at least most of the time.

Have a great week,

Mitch

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