HEARTLIGHTTwo Minute Meditations

Real Audio







Suggested Internal Links
The Garbage Left Behind, by Phil Ware

    After watching the Cowboys’ effort in futility over Thanksgiving, my son and I faced the trip back to Austin. As we backed out of the parking lot, I heard the dreaded crunch of glass. Someone had left their garbage in a pile in the middle of the parking lot, along with five beer bottles.

    “Oh, no!” I moaned. Then I thought to myself, “How could anybody be so thoughtless?”

    I was steamed. I was trying to get home, in the dark, on a night when most places were closed. Now I was forced to worry what damage the bottles had done.

“Would we be safe?”

“Should I change the tire?”

The more I thought about it, the more steamed I got.

    Then a little light went off in my head. “Yeah sure, this is a potential mess, but think of all the times you’ve heard others dump their verbal garbage in the lap of someone else and then walk away leaving that person to clean up the mess they left behind!” Unfortunately, it has a way of smelling up the life of person on the receiving end of the garbage.

“Well, that tongue lashing was really in his best interest. He needs to change.”

“Come on, don’t take it that seriously, it was just a joke.”

“Can’t you stand just a little good natured kidding? Where’s your sense of humor?”

“I know I’m sometimes a bit sarcastic, but that’s just the way I am and it’s all in good fun. I’m not trying to hurt anyone.”

We don’t want to leave our garbage in the heart of someone else.
    Most of us recognize that a person who leaves his trash and empty beer bottles to be run over in the parking is selfish and insensitive. But at a party, if someone is funny at the expense of someone else, we sit and listen and laugh at their cutting remarks. Sometimes we pay them even more attention because of their “wit and humor.”

    When the laughs are at the expense of someone other than the speaker, then it’s garbage that’s being dumped! We hate being on the receiving end of it, so why dish it out or laugh at it when someone else is hurt? We don’t want to leave our garbage in the heart of someone else. We don’t want them to have to empty our trash any time they’re around us.

    The Bible offers two very powerful guidelines about our speech:

  1. Use only the speech that will build up and bless the other person based on his or her needs (Ephesians 4:29).
  2. If you have a problem with someone, don’t gossip about them, don’t embarrass them publicly with a bit of sarcastic “humor,” but go to them personally and discuss the matter together so that your relationship with them can be reconciled (Matthew 18:15-20).

    There’s no sense in leaving our garbage for someone else to stumble over, the road of life is already littered with too many broken hearts.


HEARTLIGHT® Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-98, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
May be reprinted and reused for non-commercial purposes only if copyright credits are appropriately displayed.
HEARTLIGHT is a registered service mark of Heartlight, Inc.