A minister delivered a sermon in ten minutes one Sunday morning, which was about half the usual length. He explained, “I regret to inform you that my dog, who is very fond of eating paper, ate that portion of my sermon which I was unable to deliver this morning.” After the service, a visitor shook hands with the preacher and said, “Pastor, if that dog of yours has any pups, I want to get one to give to my minister.”

While we laugh at the man’s comment, perhaps today at work you had a similar situation. It could be that someone made a remark in jest that hit home. Maybe you said something to someone that hurt him or her even though you didn’t mean for that to happen. Whatever the case, all of us could learn to measure our words before we say them.

Several years ago, I counseled a young man who used sarcasm as a form of humor. He didn’t realize that his comments could be felt as cutting. Now he is known as an encouraging person, but this change didn’t happen overnight. It took time for him to back off and view his remarks from the other person’s perspective.

All of us could do the same. Take a moment and ask the Lord to help you bring encouragement and respect to other people by your words.

There’s so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us, that it little behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us. — John Brantingham

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder