"Bertha, these repairs are not mine!"
Ina worked in a garment factory and the swelling pile of jeans behind her would clog her line. She checked and the hem's flawed stitching was done in green; Ina's thread was blue.
Bertha said sternly, "You fix them. Loa's having machine trouble and she's sick."
That was not fair! Loa was Bertha's sister and this reeked of preferential treatment. Ina didn't go into work the next day, and when she returned to work Bertha had divided the stack of jeans among others. But the incident was not over.
Her co-workers who had repaired the garments filed a labor grievance, and the company managers and a union representative met. Soon the loud speaker blared the names of the workers who were to testify.
When Ina's name was called, she thought, Well, this my chance to be vindicated. She rehearsed everything she wanted to say. All she could think of was that she should not have been ordered to redo those pants.
But as she strode toward the meeting room, she heard a voice say, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be pleasing in thy sight, O Lord..." Startled, she stopped in her tracks for a moment and looked around. No one was there. Yet, she knew she had heard someone.
Her rehearsed speech was forgotten, and she kept silent throughout the meeting. She realized the way she talked and acted at work reflected on God.
Opinions were expressed, but no one was blamed or disciplined. The spirit of the proceedings was calm and good-natured. The grievance was settled peacefully. And Ina left the room with a new loving awe of God.
Thank You, Lord, for knowing how to help us guard our tongues.
"When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise" (Proverbs 10:19).
Memory Verse for January "Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love" (Ephesians 4:2).