And he touched my mouth with it, and said:
“Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged.”
The sound of a siren increased to an ear-piercing level as an emergency vehicle sped by my car. Its flashing lights glared through my window-screen, illuminating the words “hazardous materials” printed on the side of the vehicle. Later, I learned it had been racing to a science laboratory, where a 200-litre container of sulphuric acid had begun to leak. Emergency workers had to contain the substance immediately because of its ability to damage whatever it came in contact with.
As I thought about this news story, I wondered what would happen if sirens blared every time a harsh or critical word “leaked” out of my mouth? Sadly, I think it might become rather noisy.
The prophet Isaiah shared this sense of awareness about his sin. When he saw God’s glory in a vision, he was overcome by his unworthiness. He recognized that he was “a man of unclean lips” living with people who shared the same problem (Isaiah 6:5). What happened next gives me hope. An angel touched his lips with a red-hot coal, explaining, “your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for” (v 7).
We all have moment-by-moment choices to make with our words—both written and spoken. Will they be “hazardous” material, or will we allow God’s glory to convict us and His grace to heal us, so we can honour Him with everything we express?
Dear Lord God, help me to see how my words affect other people. Help me to speak with words seasoned with grace. In Christ's name, I pray. Amen.