Eats Shoots and Leaves

How did you interpret the title of this post? Did you see the words as verbs – action words? Or did you see Eats as a verb, and Shoot, Leaves, as nouns – describing words?


Like me, have you ever had something you said taken a different way than the way you intended? Or have you misunderstood what others have said to you? It leaves me bewildered, wondering what in the world just happened. Something that seemed so simple became scrambled on the receiving end. Like playing the telephone game when I was young. Mary went to the desert and ate an elephant. What?

Makes me wish I had one of those universal language Babel Fish, Arthur Dent in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy had. Might cut down on some misunderstandings.

But I don’t own a Babel Fish, and I presume, not many of you do, either. So, what to do?

David asked God to put a guard over his mouth. Not a bad idea. He also prayed his words would be acceptable. Another good idea. The third chapter of the book of James compares our tongues to a spark that can set a whole forest on fire. Not good.

Our words need to be affirming. Not destructive. We need to be mindful of what we say, and how we say it. Once out there, affirmation, or destruction, cannot be taken back.


I will join David, and pray for a guard over my mouth, and for God to help my words be clear.

Maybe a Babel Fish wouldn’t be such a bad idea, either, although I’m convinced I wouldn’t want the slimy thing swimming around inside my ear.

How about you? How have you handled situations where you were misunderstood, or you misunderstood others?

Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips. Psalm 141:3

I wish you well.


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2 thoughts on “Eats Shoots and Leaves

  1. Wow! Think this one hits all of us! Can’t count the times over my past 78 1/2 years that I’ve opened my mouth and regretted it. Thanks for the lesson and all the lessons – enjoy every one!


    • Thanks, Polly. Appreciate it. Doubt I’ll ever cease to be amazed when things I say, which are not meant for harm, get warped, and turned inside out. Of course, that doesn’t count the endless times I don’t “engage brain before putting mouth in gear”! Definitely need God’s mouth guard.


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