It is not only one of the fiercest things mentioned in the Bible, but it is also one of the crudest. I suppose you never thought that you could kill a person with your tongue, did you? And yet I have known some people say such mean things about others that those people were killed as far as living in their town was concerned, and had to move away, for all their influence was dead.
A pretty safe way when you are tempted to say anything unkind about another boy or girl, who is not present, is to ask yourself if it is fair play, since the other cannot defend himself; for I know that you all want to play fair. That is the basis of all true sport.
And then remember also that when once you have said an unkind thing you cannot take it back, for it lives on in spite of you.
Perhaps you recollect the interesting idea which the old Hebrews had of the separate existence of words as soon as they were spoken. A curse once uttered could not be recalled because it now existed independently of the speaker. You remember the story of the blessing of Jacob by Isaac. Isaac could not give it to Esau, because it had passed beyond his control.
“Boys flying kites, haul in their
You can’t do that way when you’re flying words,
Things that we think may sometimes fall back dead,
But God Himself can’t kill them when they’re said.”
I hope that all you boys play baseball, and that many of you are on baseball teams. If you are, I suppose you know what is meant by a sacrifice hit.
It is called a “sacrifice hit” when the score is close and a player comes to the bat, and, although he would like to make a run, nevertheless, for the sake of the man on the base, he makes a “bunt,” so that, while the pitcher or shortstop runs up to get the ball and put him out on first base, the man on the bases may make another base.
You see, then, that instead of making what is called a “grand-stand play” he just gives up his own glory for the sake of his team.
Did you ever think that your parents are constantly making “sacrifice hits” for you? Whenever your mother goes without a new dress in order that you may have a better suit of clothes; whenever your father gives up some pleasure to keep you in school, they are making a sacrifice hit for you.
And after all, boys and girls, that is about the only way the world has ever moved very far ahead. Socrates, an old Greek, made a sacrifice hit when he was put to death in prison with poison, because he wanted to make the young men of Athens wiser. Martin Luther made a sacrifice hit when he went to Worms, although he feared the Pope would kill him. But he was determined to get liberty for the people.
But the biggest sacrifice hit that was ever made was made by Christ when He was crucified on Calvary, in order that the world might know that God was a Father and loved His children.