Out of Control
A while back, I read something that made me laugh. Instead of retelling the story, let me quote it below in the actual words of the author.
“Gus, an employee in a pet shop in New York City, noticed a monkey caught in the wire of a large cage. Gus knew he should always lock the door to the monkeys’ cage when entering, but in his eagerness to help the animal, he forgot to be careful and left the cage door open as he untangled the little fellow. In an instant the freed monkey made a dash for the open door and was followed by nineteen other monkeys. Promptly those twenty opened the doors to four other cages. In seconds 100 monkeys were racing around the pet shop.
Frantically, Gus tried to trap them. Then one little fellow discovered a ladder leading to an open skylight. Without hesitation ninety-nine other monkeys followed him out to freedom and downtown New York.
Not far away a grocery clerk was working in a storeroom when forty monkeys entered through an open window. Half of the intruders began opening sacks and dumping out the contents while the rest enjoyed a feast of bananas.
Other monkeys visited a three-story firehouse, where they had a great time sliding down the pole and turning on all the showers. When the fire alarm rang they jumped on the hook-and-ladder truck for the ride. The call was from someone who needed help to get monkeys off a high building. When they arrived the policeman stared unbelievingly, shouting, “It isn’t possible. They’re bringing more.”
Not far away in a church the choirmaster was practicing with a boy’s choir when two monkeys jumped on the piano, swung from the curtain, and hung from the chandelier. The singing stopped while the choir leader organized the boys in the first monkey hunt in that church.
Three interesting months went by before all one hundred monkeys were returned to the pet shop. Just one careless act, but so much trouble! Still one hundred monkeys loose in New York City isn’t as disastrous as one uncontrolled tongue. Unkind or cruel words can’t be retrieved. Like setting a whole forest ablaze, the damage done is forever, destroying life, happiness, and beauty. Only as you let God control your tongue are you and those with you safe from words that can kill.”
So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire!
— James 3:5 RSV
Updated: Aug 14, 2011