The Ballestero Blog

"That's what I'm talking about!"


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When I was 14, our family lived in Yakima, WA. Dad had just started a Home Missions Church in a storefront there. I got a job working for “Pop” Dillon on his Egg Ranch.  He had about 50,000 White Leghorns. I worked there for most of the 8th grade.

It did not take long in those “brooder houses” to find out that if a chicken sees a sore, or blood on another chicken, it will peck at it. Others will join in. They will not stop. Often chickens die as a result. They get pecked to death.

A commercial hen house

One summer morning I arrived at the farm and helped pick up a several hundred dead chickens that had been killed during the night. Pop Dillon was tired of losing so many on a regular basis. He decided to take drastic measures.

I was surprised when Pop said he wanted me to help him “debeak“ the pullets (young chickens). When asked why the procedure was necessary, he explained that it was the only way to keep them from pecking each other to death.

While the chicken’s body was firmly held in his left hand, Pop inserted the index finger of his right hand between the upper and lower beak. He then laid the upper beak down on a bar. When the handle was pushed, a heated piece of steel burned off the tip of the chicken’s top beak.

The chicken can still eat and drink but cannot peck any more chickens to death. Animal rights activists today strongly protest this procedure. However, it was effective. Sometimes drastic times call for drastic measures.

Now, with that in mind, let’s talk about you and me.

Could it be that the things we say about those that have problems and injuries, though true, actually helps finish them off. How many have we helped destroy with our words? We have all seen people with problems. Most of us have made comments.

Lev. 19:16 Thou shalt not go up and down as a talebearer among thy people: neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy neighbour: I am the LORD.

Prov. 11:13 A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter.

Prov. 26:20 Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth.

  • (Heaven forbid you should talk about your pastor.)

Some information does not HAVE to be passed on, even if it’s true. Why are we quick to tell what we know or have heard that is bad? Does it make us sound important? We can’t whitewash ourselves by blackening others. If our speech is injurious to a brother, it also harms the unity of the church family. Are we killing one other by being a talebearer?

Gal. 5:15 But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another.

  • Gossip Lesson 101: If you keep pecking at others, you may soon draw unwanted attention to yourself.
  • Drastic measures may occur.

  • Maybe a spiritual debeaking is in order.

Phil. 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Written by Martyn Ballestero

January 28, 2010 at 10:55 am

Posted in Christian Living, Unity

4 Responses

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  1. What a great illustration.
    It brought to remembrance an old song that I haven’t heard sung for years.
    It should be the cry of our hearts.

    If I have wounded any soul today,
    If I have caused one foot to go astray,
    If I have walked in my own willful way,
    Dear Lord, forgive!

    If I have uttered idle words or vain,
    If I have turned aside from want or pain,
    Lest I myself shall suffer through the strain,
    Dear Lord, forgive!

    If I have been perverse or hard, or cold,
    If I have longed for shelter in Thy fold,
    When Thou hast given me some fort to hold,
    Dear Lord, forgive!

    Forgive the sins I have confessed to Thee;
    Forgive the secret sins I do not see;
    O guide me, love me and my keeper be,
    Dear Lord, Amen.

    Ruthe (Rosell) Virgil

    January 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

  2. Thanks for making it plain. So needed.

    James Miller

    January 29, 2010 at 2:38 am

  3. Perfect length too- good message


    February 22, 2010 at 10:32 am

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