They Took the Trees!

Not far from where I live there was an old house with lots of big trees around it. It always gave me a sense of serenity just passing by it. But “progress” came to the street. A bank bought the property for a new branch. One of the first things they did was to bring in a bulldozer and tear down the house—and uproot the beautiful trees! The lot is bare now, waiting for the foundation to be constructed for new brick building to house the bank.

Trees that had taken 50 to one hundred years to grow were destroyed in one short afternoon by a man and bulldozer! Trees are such magnificent examples of God’s creation. To destroy them in one afternoon seems so heartless. I jog past a tree every day that must be 150 years old. I’ve often thought of all the things this tree has been present for. It has literally seen the city grow up around it.

But we sometimes do to people what a bulldozer does to a tree. We can take a word or action against a person and destroy what that person has taken years to build. When we repeat gossip or untruths, we are tearing down a character that has taken a lifetime to develop. When we lash out at someone in anger, we may be doing damage in one moment that will take years to repair. When we create division in a church, we are creating a roadblock that may take decades to overcome.

We need to watch what we say and do! In Leviticus 19:16 God says, “‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people.” One of the Ten Commandments states, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor” (Exodus 20:16.) David in Psalm 24:3 asked, “Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?” God’s answer in part was, “Whoever slanders their neighbor in secret, I will put to silence; whoever has haughty eyes and a proud heart, I will not tolerate” (Psalm 101:5.)

We don’t always think before we act or speak. Keep the tree in mind. A word is not just a word—it, like a bulldozer, can tear down what has taken years to develop and establish.