I was reminded recently of a story that has been attributed to the ancient philosopher, Socrates. It is said that a man went to the wise philosopher looking for some advice. “I have damaged another’s reputation with stinging words and an accusation about an issue that is not true”, the man stated. He then said that he wanted to make amends, but he didn’t know how to go about doing so. Socrates took him up to the edge of a cliff on a high mountain side and handed him a sack full of feathers. “Turn the sack over and pour out the feathers”, Socrates commanded. The wind caught the feathers and scattered them all over the mountain side. The aged philosopher then told the young man to go and pick up all of the feathers and when he was done he would then tell him how to solve his problem. The bewildered man shouted, “There is no way I will be able to gather all of those feathers, they are everywhere!” Indeed, some of them were still drifting on the wind far from where they stood. Socrates then replied softly, “Neither is there a way to restore the reputation of a man destroyed by gossip or lies.”

            The apostle Paul encourages our speech to always be with grace (Col 4.6), and Job says, My lips will not speak wickedness, Nor my tongue utter deceit (Job 27:4 NKJV). This should apply to all that we say, write in an e-mail about, post to a friend on Facebook, or twitter a tweet to. Consider what would be found if all that we said today were to be written on feathers and scattered to the wind. As they were collected, would someone know that we are kind, considerate, and filled with brotherly love? Would they know that we are Christians?

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. (Mat 5:16 NKJV)

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