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Smoke Signals

In the olden times, people had a unique way of communicating with each other.

Popular to the native Indians of North America was the smoke signal. Each smoke signaling system symbolized different meanings. It depended on the location where it was coming from.

According to sources, Ancient China used the same method. The soldiers stationed along the Great Wall would alert each other of incoming attack from their enemies by making smoke from tower to tower. The alphabet or cryptographic messages from smoke was also invented by the Greeks. It became useful to the Japanese and the Germans during World War I. And from the conclave of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican, people await the smoke signal to determine the newly elected Pope as well.

Over the years, communication has transitioned to a high-tech method. E-mailing, text messaging and social networking are just among the few of them. They are so powerful that they are capable of tracing ancestry, reuniting lost family members and many more. But the power of communication has a ripple effect too. It can either make and unmake a person. And depending on the purpose, it can also build and destroy someone.

As Christians, we have a big responsibility not only to unbelievers but to our fellow believers as well with what we say. In sending or receiving the "smoke signal", our moral obligation in both situations should be at equal footing. How we interpret and react to what we hear from others could sometimes be beyond our control. But since we have many times professed our faith in Christ, we should be able to do so.

We can avoid unjustly judging other people based on what we hear about them if we exercise wisdom. With that, we can spare ourselves from persecuting an innocent one or causing others to fall.

St. James teaches how to communicate in James 1:19 (NIV), "My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry."

Sure, we can send the "smoke signals," but with caution. Otherwise, we can cause a "fire."

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