WARNING! IMPORTANT SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS!!! (Self-Control)
My husband, Rich, received a very nice electric leaf blower for Christmas. He usually ignores the instructions on things he feels familiar with (often returning to them later) but the extensive list or warnings caught his eye. There were fifty-eight safety instructions on the first page. These were preceded by:
!WARNING! READ AND UNDERSTAND ALL INSTRUCTIONS BEFORE USING THIS BLOWER. To reduce the risk of electric shock, fire and/or serious personal injury."
Hmmm. Rich began reading me the list. By the time he was finished I was ready to take it back to the store and dig out the rake. There were more pages with warnings about assembly, operation, and maintenance which were then repeated in French and Spanish.
After I recuperated from a fit of giggles, I got to thinking. Of course I had a spiritual application. There were two warnings (numbers one and eighteen) that caught my attention.
As I considered the first warning, I thought about the importance of reading and knowing my Bible:
#1 "Know your power blower. Read operator's manual carefully. Learn its applications and limitations, as well as the specific potential hazards related to this blower. Following this rule will reduce the risk of electric shock, fire or serious injury."
(My paraphrase) "Know your Bible. Read the Word of God carefully. Learn its applications and limitations, as well as the specific potential hazards related to not knowing and following God's Word. Following this rule will reduce the risk of spiritual confusion, eternal fire or serious consequences."
Or, as the author of Hebrews put it in 4:12-13:
"For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do."
As I read the second warning I thought about my lack of self-control with my words.
#18 "Stay alert, watch what you are doing and use common sense when operating a power blower. Do not uses blower while tired, upset, or under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication. A moment of inattention while operating blowers may result in serious personal injury."
(My paraphrase) "Stay alert, watch what you are saying and use common sense when operating your mouth. Do not let your words flow freely while tired, upset, or under the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication (hopefully that's not applicable!). A moment of inattention while operating your mouth may result in serious personal injury."
Two verses came immediately to mind:
"Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips." Psalm 141:3
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Ephesians 4:29
It's New Year's Eve and I wasn't going to make any resolutions this year. I hate to disappoint myself. However, I think the warnings on the leaf blower changed my mind. If I dive more deeply into the Word of God and make a conscious effort to control the words that come out of my mouth, I should operate with fewer self-inflicted problems and avoid inflicting personal injury on others.
If you received any electrical equipment for Christmas, you might want to read and heed the instructions. I learned a lot but I'm still going to use the rake.
Go bless you all. Happy New Year!