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Be Careful What You Say and What You Hear!

Daily Reading: Genesis 43

Scripture Focus: Why did you treat me so badly as to tell the man that you had another brother? (Genesis 43.6)

Devotional Thought: There have been times when I have said things without thinking that have caused pain for someone I loved. Though I was completely 'innocent,' their pain was just as real. Jacob's sons had done that to him. Without knowing what problems they would cause, they told 'the man' (they didn't know it was Joseph, their brother, who was the 'Secretary of Commerce' in Egypt) that they had another brother. This caused a situation that could have been avoided if they had kept their mouths shut!

Have you ever hurt someone unwittingly with your words? It makes you feel awful, doesn't it? There are (at least) two things we can learn from this incident in Jacob's family:

We need to be careful about what we say. Words have potential to hurt! The old saying "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me" is just not true. Even words spoken without intent to harm can cause pain - some of it lifelong. In Jacob's opinion, what his sons had said was catastrophic. I've counseled many people with scars left over from words spoken years ago.

We need to be careful about what we 'hear.' Jacob unfairly blamed his sons for the predicament. His question only multiplied their pain. It was obvious that Jacob was speaking out of his frustration. His boys needed to hear it that way and not take offense. We will be happier and more congenial if we don't wear our feelings on our sleeves - if we give people the benefit of the doubt. There are enough real hurts in life. We don't need to make things up!

Be careful what you say. Be careful what you hear. You will be happier and those around you will too!

Prayer: Lord Jesus, you have shown us the power of words, to heal or to hurt. Help us to be careful with words, both hearing them and speaking them. May my words today bring others love, peace, and joy. Amen.

Psalm of the Day: 8 By day the LORD commands his steadfast love, and at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life. 9 I say to God, my rock: "Why have you forgotten me? Why do I go mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?" 10 As with a deadly wound in my bones, my adversaries taunt me, while they say to me all the day long, "Where is your God?" 11 Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God. (Psalms 42:8-11)

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