The Rude Train Conductor

The tongue can kill or nourish life (Proverbs 18:21, NLT).

Have you ever gotten up in the morning feeling out of sorts with the world?

Have you ever harbored hostility toward someone, and the slightest irritation caused you to explode?

The story is told of a man who bought a coach ticket on one of the major railways. Unaware that he had walked into a parlor car, he accidentally took someone else’s seat.

The conductor, who was checking tickets, scolded him mercilessly. As the man left the car, another passenger asked him, “Say, why didn’t you punch that conductor in the nose? Or at least report him to his superiors?”

“Oh no,” replied the gentleman, “If a man like that can stand himself all his life, surely I can stand him for two minutes.”

Let’s face it, most people get angry at times. And often the hostility in our hearts reveals itself through our words and actions. James chapter 3, verses 8 through 12, declares: “No one can tame the tongue. It is an uncontrollable evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it breaks out into curses against those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right! Does a spring of water bubble out with both fresh water and bitter water? Can you pick olives from a fig tree or figs from a grapevine? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty pool” (NLT).

Few things are more self-contaminating than poisoned words that spring from the depths of a bitter heart.

May we always remember God’s exhortations:

“See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many” (Hebrews 12:15, NIV).

“The tongue can kill or nourish life” (Proverbs 18:21, NLT).

“Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body” (Proverbs 16:24, NLT).

Bill Bright


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