You can find profound truths in just about any place – even bumper stickers. Sometimes all it takes is 3-4 words on that little piece on vinyl attached to the back of a vehicle to reach your heart and mind, and teach you something. This one said: “wag more, bark less.”
My husband and I are dog lovers, and when you come across us on the road, you’ll see three little furry heads with us in our big rig truck. They are all dogs, no cats – I’m allergic. These dogs have been referred to as “road dogs” because they go wherever we go. They vary in sizes from 19 pounds to 6 pounds, and yes, they do sleep with us in an oversized twin bed (the inside of our truck has about 75 square feet of space). Foxy is a mix of a Sheltie and we don’t know what else (but she sort of looks like a coyote), Tinkerbell is a Yorkie mix, and Zoey is a super mini Dachshund. All dogs are in their senior years and have sweet, happy temperaments. They are considered an integral part of our family and they bring such joy to our lives. However, Foxy doesn’t like it when we drive down a bumpy road; she much prefers the truck when it is sitting still. She will calm down when the driving on a smooth road, but gets anxious when we go over bumps, and when we slow down she will whine and bark. She can’t help it – we are convinced that she has OCD, and man does she ever let loose with her objections. Her whining and barking are of a real high-pitch frequency that hurts our ears. And when she gets into an anxious fit and starts whining and barking, we can’t even hardly think because of her clamor. We much prefer it when she’s calm and wagging her tale.
I too can behave like Foxy when I am agitated, I certainly can bark out some things that sure doesn’t sound anything like speaking in grace and building up someone in the faith; it sounds more like bitterness, anger, and wrath. My witness is rendered ineffective by the words and the corresponding inflection coming out of my mouth. I know this that when I am barking, I certainly am not wagging! My mouth can certainly be one of my biggest hinderances to my ability to be effective in my day.
I know that I need to keep my mouth in check. At times I am successful, more often I fail miserably. I realize that if I can control my tongue, then I will feel much better, and so will those who have been subject to my tongue lashings. I can’t do it on my own, that’s for sure. I need to heavily rely on my relationship with the Holy Spirit – God can do anything, even make this child of His, hold back the poison and release His grace.
With God, we all can wag more, bark less.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear…Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (Ephesians 4:29 & 31, ESV)
“but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:8, ESV)