Bless and Don’t Curse - The Warrior's Journey®

Bless and Don’t Curse

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness.  Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” (James 3:9-10) 

During World War II the Allies dropped more than 3.4 million tons of bombs on the Axis powers. So it’s not surprising that remnants of unexploded ordnance still pop up to this day – 75 years after the war ended.  Such was the case in July 2019. Construction workers in Frankfurt Germany uncovered a 1,100-pound (American-built) bomb. As a safety measure city officials evacuated 17,000 residents from the area. Then an ordnance disposal team performed the delicate work to defuse and remove the bomb. 

Most people want to put wars behind them and go on with the task of rebuilding and living. But some people aren’t able to do so. Their hearts are like those relics of war, bombs just waiting to explode. They are souls so filled with pain that they constitute a short-fused bomb. Their pain is muffled until something or someone triggers it. Then they explode – perhaps in a deadly outburst. 

I wish we’d learn to treat each other with a little more kindness, respect, and dignity. I’m convinced there are millions of short-fused bombs walking among us. They’re not only the casualties of war. The vast majority are people who’ve been wounded multiple times by an abusive and toxic culture. Their self-esteem is shot-to-heck and they cannot name one good thing about themselves. They come in every color and gender. 

But we don’t defuse them by going into a panic and creating laws that punish their behavior – the common knee-jerk reaction of politicians.  We deal gently and kindly with those who are hurting, whose pain-level is off the scale. We generously apply what is so absent from their hearts – the dignity, respect, and love due to all of God’s children.   

Be kind.  Everyone is fighting a battle. Everyone is carrying a burden. Don’t add to their trouble. Choose your words carefully. Make sure they’re words you’d love to hear yourself.  The Bible said much the same thing thousands of years ago. “A gentle answer turns away wrath.  But harsh words only stir up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). “A soothing tongue is a tree of life; but twisted words crush the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4). “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). “There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18). Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (Proverbs 18:21, The Message). May God give us the brains, skill, and common sense to handle explosives delicately! 


  • If you were surrounded by short-fused bombs, all easily triggered, how would you behave around them? Would gentleness save you?  Would brutality doom you? 
  • You are surrounded by short-fused bombs, so choose your words wisely. 

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