A Tree of Life

By Stan Mitchell
“A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit” (Proverbs 15:4, ESV).
Do you remember Peter, Paul and Mary singing about the “Lemon Tree”?
“Lemon tree, so very pretty,
And the flower of it is sweet
But the fruit of the poor lemon
Is impossible to eat!”

If so, congratulations, Oh Ancient One!
Mostly, however, we think of fruit as something that is good for us, something that heals, not harms.
In most African languages, the word for “tree” is the same word for “medicine.” So much of their lives surround the benefits of a tree. Some trees provide fruit, others shade from the heat of the day. There are also many medicines drawn from the roots, sap and bark of trees.
Now if this seems strange to you, just remember that aspirin comes from the willow tree; many of our medicines, too, come from trees and plants. One reason scientists are so anxious to preserve the rainforests of the world is because of the likelihood of more disease-ridding medicines that would not be discovered if the trees was destroyed.
So trees bring life and healing, and so do wise words, kindly spoken. Like the life-giving tree, they will heal and bring life to those around us.

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