Growing up on a farm that produced almost all of what we ate, summertime chores were prolific. I helped plant seeds, pull weeds, pick produce and preserve fruits and vegetables from the garden and orchard. We milked the cows (not me, though), drank raw milk and used the cream to make butter and whipped cream. Mom tried once to make cheese but she wasn’t happy with the results. We bought that.

In addition to a large garden and a fruit orchard, the farm had animals. Cows, pigs and chickens all provided meat; the chickens provided eggs. In the fall, Dad and my brother hunted, so we had venison in the freezer. Salmon swam upstream in the river behind our house to spawn and snagging them was allowed which provided canned salmon for the winter months as well.

Chicken butchering was a full day process. I won’t go into all the details here, but it involved a block of wood and an ax. Mom or Dad always did that part of the job.

The ax, for the chicken, was an instrument of death. I am sure Dad talked to me about the dangers of the ax, citing its ability to harm another person. It was used carefully and never swung toward anyone. The purpose of an ax was to chop wood and, at times, butcher chickens.

I don’t know that I have ever equated my words with an ax. Sure, I can be grumpy and my words come out more sharply than I intend. But kill someone? Really? Let’s see what Proverbs has to say about it!

18Telling lies about others is as harmful as hitting them with an ax, wounding them with a sword, or shooting them with a sharp arrow.

Proverbs 25:18

It seems plain to me. How often have I said something about someone that was not true or based on faulty information? Do I always stop to censor what I say?

It is a good reminder to pause before I speak. THINK is a great acrostic to keep in mind.

Sometimes, I just need to say NO! to the words that want to come out. How about you?

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