Back in the day, when baseball was just starting out as a national pastime, the pitching was a whole lot different than it is today. You'd hear the announcer say, "Here comes the wind-up..." In a few quick moves, the pitcher would go through various "contortions" until there was a sudden release of the ball, sending it sailing toward home plate. It was the "wind-up" which gave the ball its speed. Without the wind-up, the ball was not likely to cross the plate, but if it did - the batter was more likely to hit it dead on, sending it as far as his swing would allow.
14 The start of a quarrel is like a leak in a dam, so stop it before it bursts. (Proverbs 17:14 The Message)
The beginning of a quarrel is something like the "wind-up" of the "pitch" which will send the entire conversation into a direction it may never have intended to go! Learning to control the "pitch" often determines if the ball will ever reach home plate!
The illustration provided in our passage is plain - a leaky dam is indeed not much of a threat until it begins to expand! Just as the ball in the hand of the pitcher is no threat until it is released toward the plate, the thoughts we think in the moment are not much of a threat until they are spoken! A small leak in a huge dam can keep a structural engineer up at nights! Wonder if a small word spoken in haste keeps us up at nights?
You have probably heard me say, "Think everything you say, but don't say everything you think!" Not sure where I first heard this, but it has stuck with me for years and years. I have repeated it many times and many have their own "ah-haw" moment with this seed thought. Not everything we think is worth speaking. Some words are just not wise to speak simply because the relationship is not strong enough, the words are unkind, or the words are not meant to be spoke in this moment of time (the timing is off).
We often "wind-up" long before we launch the words which will "cross the plate". The words which lead up to the "explosive" pitch are often more important than any others we speak. In leading up to the "pitch", we often say a whole lot of other stuff which seems insignificant at the moment, but when the "pitch" is released, they ALL hit home!
The other important thing to realize is the purpose of the "wind-up". It is designed to INCREASE the velocity of the ball's delivery! If our words leading up to the "final pitch" do the same thing, no wonder the "pitch" carries such a punch! The "build-up" to the actual words which culminate in a quarrel are merely those which give "velocity" to the quarrel.
A wise pitcher learns to control the ball. A wild ball may cost him the game. Learning to control our words is much like the control of the ball. When we learn to understand the difference between being "set" on the mound and being in the full "wind up" mode, we learn a lot about control. The "set" is when the pitcher has an eye on all the other players in the game. The "wind up" is when the pitcher is set into action to deliver the ball across home plate! Each has a purpose - one has more risk than the other. Watching other players, seeing their moves, being aware of their desire to "advance" a base, are skills wisely learned by the one who takes the mound.
We need to learn to be wise with the use of our words. The words we choose not to speak are just as important as those we do! As we learn what gives "velocity" to our delivery, we also can learn what brings "control"!