In first grade me and Joe were the smallest kids. We were also the favorite targets of the class bully. I found out the hard way that knocking someone’s steely out of the marble ring did not mean you actually got to take it home. Counted myself lucky to escape with the four fingers and one thumb I brought to the game.
That same year the teacher had us all push our desks together in the center of the room. I am still not sure what this exercise was supposed to teach. When she called for someone to stand on this makeshift platform, being small, agile, innocent, and trusting…and stupid I found myself looking down at the faces of my six year old classmates. She asked the group for observations, and descriptions. The biggest girl in the class blurted out. “That’s Jerky Jeff”. Their laughter was hideous. My face betrayed my crushed spirit and I forever after avoided the burning hot spot light.
Most people today admit to a fear of public speaking. Polls even suggest it ranks right up there with going to the dentist. What is this: Two of humanities biggest fears have to do with our mouths?
Preachers have said the the tongue is the only animal that comes in it’s own cage.
James the half brother of Jesus has much to say on the tongue. let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak…If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain.
It only gets worse from there.
In Chap 3 he really gets in to it. And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell…But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
Have I been guilty of speaking guile and of quenching someone’s spirit. In a word, yes. For all the wrongs of my childhood I have slain and slaughtered many a friend and foe with my tongue.
I became Jerky Jeff or rather Jeff the jerk.
It wasn’t until I had destroyed my marriage and my family that Jesus changed me. I do not envy Him the task, but His grace is sufficient for me