Spider Solitaire

There is an interesting game of solitaire on most new computers, called “Spider Solitaire,” which has a rather neat feature–an undo button. This feature allows you to undo a move when you realize that you could have made a better move or that you have just made a rather dumb move, and then you can carry on playing the game. The other nice part about the undo feature is that if you reach a point when you cannot play and would normally have to resign and quit the game, you can undo several moves which allows you to take a different path, make different moves and at times even win the game.

Life is not like that where we can undo things we have said that were perhaps harsh or unkind, or when we have done things which were somewhat disastrous in our life and which might have impacted someone else in a very negative way. Like the saying goes, “You can’t unring a bell.” If we make cutting remarks to someone, we cannot take them back. That is why it is so important to put our brain in gear before we open our mouth. There is an old carpenter’s saying that it is better to measure twice and cut once. Once a board is cut too short, it cannot be used for the intended application.

The Bible tells us to curtail our tongues. James 3:2-5 reads: “For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body.   Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body.   Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.   Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!”

This admonition should not be viewed as limited to the things we say, but we should also apply it to the things we do. We really have to use wisdom and ponder our path as it were before acting, because we have to  live with the consequences–sometimes for a very long time.  For example, a person can work for a company for thirty years and no one may notice him, but if he makes one mistake that costs the company a lot of money or lost time, everyone will remember that. They will not recall the good work he did, but they will focus on the disastrous mistake he made.

There are consequences for the things we do, and we have to live with them. I have heard statements like, “That wasn’t the smartest thing to do,” or, “If I had to do it again, I would do it in a different manner.”

 It is important to think twice before acting or reacting too quickly in word or deed. We need to meditate, seek counsel and ask God for wisdom to make correct decisions.  Proverbs 1:5 says: “A wise man will hear and increase learning, And a man of understanding will attain wise counsel.” Proverbs 2:6 adds, “For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”

Life offers us many challenges and opportunities to ensure that the things we say and do are in accordance with God’s Word, instruction and wisdom. We have to live with the consequences of our words–be they kind or harsh–and our actions–be they wise or foolish. After all, life is not a “Spider Solitaire” game which offers us automatic undo buttons.

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