By George Bowers Sr.
Every other week, the sermon from Antioch is rebroadcast on a local radio station. Because the typical sermon is longer than the allotted air time, our administrative assistant must use some sound editing software to pare it down to an acceptable length.
This software is really quite amazing in that you can remove pauses, mistakes, stutters, repeats, and any other words or phrases that are not beneficial for the listener. Fractions of a second can be erased as well as entire paragraphs. By simply highlighting the portion of sound that needs to be removed and hitting the delete button, she can make the undesirable disappear forever. In fact, with some crafty editing, someone could make a speaker say things he or she never really said.
Wouldn't it be great to have such technology to control our speech in the first place? Imagine how many conflicts we would avoid if we could edit our words before we said them. Too often, I say something later I wish I hadn't. Unfortunately, there is no way to change what I've spoken and the words have already helped or hurt those around me.
In addition, we could use this method to delete inappropriate language, profanity and cursing. In fact, the Bible mentions several tongue-related sins, including gossip, blasphemy, lying, and taking God's name in vain. If we could simply apply some word editing "technology" to our lips, how many fewer sins we'd commit?
Just as we can't put fire back into a match, or toothpaste back into a tube, we cannot re-gather our words after they've come out of our mouths. Because of this, we need to make doubly sure before we speak them that we are saying something we will not be sorry for later. Occasionally I've regretted things I didn't say, but far more often it's the things I did say that got me in trouble. Anyone else?
Let's ask the ultimate sound technician to help us omit hurtful or inappropriate words and phrases before we say them instead of trying to clean up the damage afterwards. Let us echo the prayer of the Psalmist in 141:3, "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."
Let's invite the Holy Spirit to help us edit our words before we speak them so that they can be a blessing to those around us instead of a curse.