I like to shoot guns. Pretty simple statement isn’t it? I believe that it is my right as a citizen of this here United States of America to own and use firearms in accordance with the law. Now, I also believe that, to quote Uncle Ben From Spider-Man, that with great power comes great responsibility and owing firearms is a great power bestowed upon an individual. One of the responsibilities of owning firearms is gun safety and it should be learned early and often.
A couple rules of safety
Now, there are several rules of gun safety but two that I would like to point out are these:
- always treat the gun as if it were loaded
- always be sure of your target down range
A firearm should always be handled as if it were loaded. The muzzle should never be pointed at anyone or anything ( except the ground or a verified safe direction ) until you are ready to shoot. When you are ready to shoot you must be sure of your target and that there is nothing down range that could be an unintended recipient of a fired round. We must be careful at all times and in all ways when we are exercising our Constitutional right to own and bear arms. Our children should be taught to respect firearms, how to use them, and when to use them. With proper use and care a day of shooting can be great fun for the entire family. See here for 10 gun safety rules.
A weapon apparently with no safety
- There is, however, another weapon that all people possess, no license is required, and very little training is evident in its use: the tongue. This is what James has to say about the tongue:
5 So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. – James 3:5-6
How many people do you know, yourself and myself included, that shoot off at the mouth with little to no thought of what is being said? Our mouths are often rolling along before our brains are even in gear and we tear down without building up. Our tongues are sharp instruments of destruction inflicting damage that scars others deeply.
We think we are being witty when we are actually being cruel. Are we known for our acerbic wit or our comforting words?
A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. Proverbs 15:1.
Do our words calm a heated situation or do we throw gasoline on the fire fueling the blaze by what we say?
Just like with gun safety there are at least two rules we should follow when speaking:
- treat your words as if they are loaded.
- Be sure what is down range before your speak.
A word spoken cannot be taken back so we should measure our words with care and be sure our speech is seasoned with salt. There is a live round in the chamber and even if what is spoken is true it is not always necessary to speak at that time or in the manner that first comes to us. Give it a few minutes, hours, or even days and then say what needs to be said with grace and love.
Our words are are often like a scatter gun; throwing out a broad pattern indiscriminately at whoever is standing before us mowing down the intended target and those innocently standing around. Friends, there should be no collateral damage when we are speaking. Parents, have you argued heatedly with your spouse in front of your children? Next time tempers flare, remember they hear and learn from our behavior. Young ones, have you ever said something to your siblings or parents and regretted it the moment the words passed your lips? A little forethought would both resolve and negate so many bad situations that our tongues get us into.
Before we utter that harsh and so often unnecessary word next time, let us ponder these words of Christ spoken to the Pharisees:
34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.
35 The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.
36 I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak,
37 for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:34-37
What do you think? How can we better control our tongues?
Sola Deo Gloria