My mother and grandmother had been making tomato sauce, and the house was
filled with the aroma of the spices and fruit. What a lot of work was
required in those days, toiling over the wood-fueled stove to produce that
rich sauce. When all was cooked, the onion peelings, tomato skins and
spices were seived away, and the strainings were duly dumped over the fence
onto the rubbish pile in the adjoining field.
They were well aware that cows grazed in that same field, but cows would
never eat such things, – would they?
One silly animal would! With great mirth we watched this cow slurp its way
through the throw -aways, tears streaming down its face because of the hot
spices. But would it stop? No way!
The cows duly departed for the day to be milked, and we forgot about the
incident momentarily. That was, until we tasted that night’s milk. Have
you ever tasted ‘pickled milk?’ Believe me, it’s most unpalatable and not
likely to become a saleable commodity!
We found it hard to imagine why the cow kept eating something that clearly
was causing it great discomfit, and we strongly condemned it.
Since that day though, I have realised that I am so often like that silly
cow. I persist in doing things that maybe I don’t even enjoy, but which
have some strange attraction. I fondly imagine that what I am doing won’t
affect anyone else, and that I am willing to take my own consequences
Guess what? When, like the ‘tainted milk’ (wrong thoughts, attitudes,
words or actions) gets put in with that of others, it affects them in some
As a parent, I am painfully aware of the truth of James 3:6 which says,
‘The tongue can turn our whole lives into a blazing flame of destruction and
When I have ‘goofed’ with one of my children, I feel like the writer of
Proverbs who declared, ‘How wonderful to be able to say the right thing at
the right time!’
W. Ward put it this way: ‘Raised voices lower esteem. Hot tempers cool
friendships. Loose tongues stretch truth. Swelled heads shrink influence.
Sharp words dull respect.’
(Excerpt from the book, ‘Just a Minute’ by Cynthia Rowse, New Zealand)
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