When most people were in their best physical condition, Zhang Meihua was having some serious problems. At the age of 20, she began to lose her ability to move her arms and legs. Zhang’s doctors could not figure out what was causing the problem.

20 years passed, and Zhang started to have chronic headaches besides her other symptoms. When she visited her doctors, they did a CAT scan and an X-ray. They soon found out what had been causing Zhang’s symptoms. A rusty pin had been stuck in her head. The head of the pin was outside her skull, but the shaft penetrated her brain. After surgery, the pin was successfully removed.

The doctors were amazed that Zhang could live for so long with the rusty pin stuck in her brain. They thought somehow the pin had entered her skull after she was born and before her skull had hardened.

It doesn’t take a rusty pin stuck in our heads to cause us lasting problems. All it takes is wrong thoughts which cause hurtful words and actions. A pastor wrote the following tips to keep us from getting in trouble. The key is to T-H-I-N-K:

  • T – Is it true?
  • H – Is it helpful if I spread this?
  • I – Is it inspiring?
  • N – Is it necessary?
  • K – Is it kind?

First of all, is it true? Before we share the latest news we have heard with our friends and families, we need to ask this question. This will keep a lot of gossip from spreading and feelings from being hurt.

Then we should ask, is it helpful? Even some things which are true are not worth spreading because they will neither help the person who receives them nor the person who is the subject of the conversation. We’ll cover the other letters in the next couple days, but for today think about how your words measure up to the “T” and “H.”

Are you using partial truths to feed a rumor mill at church or work? Are you spreading information which may damage someone’s reputation? Think before you speak. You’ll avoid a lot of problems.

Devotional by Dr. James A. Scudder