I stood back a couple of feet from the window, watching my husband, Ken, talk to our very unhappy looking neighbor. The man kept pointing to a strip of grass between our two houses. As the neighbor’s motions swept wider and his face got redder, my anxiety spiked. This was not looking good.

Word on the street (our street) was that our neighbor was unhappy with the way our nine-year-old had mowed the grass. I urged Ken, “Just go explain that this was his first time moving–surely he’ll understand.”

But Ken reported that our neighbor did not understand. Our son had overlapped the property line as he mowed, and our neighbor felt his lawn was ruined.

As Ken tried to assure him that it wouldn’t happen again, the neighbor only became more agitated. He kept pointing and complaining about the grass until Ken finally said, “I’m really sorry, man. I am! But I can’t…. put it back.”

It’s the things that we can’t put back that are most upsetting. And while mowing more than my share of grass hasn’t ever been a problem for me, mowing over people with words has. Like grass, our words can’t be put back. Sharp words invite angry pointing and red faces. They cause the property lines to become more pronounced. They bring division, not peace. And you can’t put them back.

You can be sure that our son had supervision the next time he mowed. Ken walked beside him, giving guidance and instruction. God does this for us with our words. If we allow Him, the Holy Spirit will walk along with us, and keep us from cutting down and creating division.

If you turn at my reproof, 
behold, I will pour out my spirit to you, 
I will make my words known to you.
Proverbs 1:23

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