A gentle tree (Day 15, Proverbs)

Proverbs 15:4
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.”

It would be pushing it to call my Yoshino cherry tree a “tree of life,” but it does have a certain gentle beauty that breathes life into our front yard.

And if it could speak words, I imagine they’d be wholesome and optimistic and encouraging ones. It heralds in “Spring is here!”

Why do we often fail to recognize that our own words hold such possibilities as well? When we speak words of gentle beauty, it nourishes the souls of our listeners and breathes life into their hearts.

Two years ago our cherry tree became droopy. Looking closer, we discovered caterpillars were eating their way through the bark, covering it so tightly that we hadn’t even noticed. The “perverseness” of the worms almost broke the spirit of the tree, stripping away many of the leaves.

Our words hold that dangerous potential as well. We’ve all felt stripped by someone’s harsh words, or judgmental attitude, or even lack of joy. I felt it even reading a bumper stick today that said, “Jesus lies.” Perverse words indeed.

I don’t want to be a harmful caterpillar; I’d rather be a gentle tongue.

I think the world needs more Yoshino cherry trees.


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