I spoke the words too soon, and immediately felt that pain in the pit of my stomach and wave of regret.
Have you been there, too? Spoken words too quickly and wish you had not?
I possess a weapon of mass destruction… or one that can offer immeasurable hope.
You possess it, too.
It’s called the tongue.
If I profess to follow Christ, then the words I utter must also align with his character: my words must be words resurrected—not words of flesh, but words born of the spirit, words inspired by Holy Writ and Holy Spirit, funneled through the sieve of His word.
How am I doing? Are my words passing the test? How about you?
Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose. Proverbs 18:21 The Message
The tongue has the power of life and death; and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 NIV
This verse pierces the place where the choice is made to offer life or death through words. This weapon, the power of words, the tongue, can be used to destroy or to build… and it will either be one or the other. Life or Death. This is some kind of power – both humbling and scary.
My desire is to remember to ask myself before I speak: “Is this a resurrected word? Is this power harnessed, disciplined, carefully wielded, tamed, appropriate for the situation and surrendered to God? Or subject to the passion, fury, or sorrow of the moment?”
How many words of love and life have brought healing and hope to those in need of them? Therein lies the power of life, with words that restore, heal, offer hope, help, encouragement, words brimming with purpose and love. Since He is the source of Love, sharing words of love is the sharing of Him… any life-giving word, offering seed of hope, any substance of something solid, is the spoken manifestation of Him, a promise of fruit to be harvested, and a reflection of His glory. He won’t let that word come back void.
On the other hand, how many relationships have been destroyed, how many hearts broken, spirits crushed, because of words? Therein lies the power of death and destruction— in the carnage of dying relationships, broken hearts, crushed hopes, shattered dreams, burned reputations, and time lost. We are surrounded daily by those stung, maimed, and amputated.
I have contributed to the mess. I stand on both sides, as one who has been amputated and one who has also wielded the knife. But does this not describe us all?
Have you hurt others with your words, truncating their hope, crushing their spirit, hurting and wounding like a scythe? Haven’t you also been wounded, cut deeply by words tossed at you?
There is hope to move beyond the carnage.
Drawing closer to Christ transforms me from the inside-out, so that what flows outward is more reflective of Life-giving speech, sounding more like the master than myself. Love is what gives me any kind of power to choose the better word, in any circumstance.
Gradually new limbs are replaced, and hope bursts alive, like a season of spring, which is something only possible in the realm of the healing words of God, but not by dwelling in the words of the flesh.
The Word of God is not subject to the physical laws at work in this world, so new growth, hope, new life, is possible, out of death – even the deadly destruction of the tongue.
This is the hope and life we have to offer in a world filled with the wounded and bleeding, including ourselves. We, the people of the resurrection, we have hope, and we have life, the Living Word, living inside of us. Life-giving, pulsing, flowing, rich, full of the breath of God, are the words we can offer to a world of word-cut amputees, words of hope for new limbs, new hopes, new dreams, and new Life.