“You’re familiar with the command to the ancients, ‘Do not murder.’ I’m telling you that anyone who is so much as angry with a brother or sister is guilty of murder. Carelessly call a brother ‘idiot!’ and you just might find yourself hauled into court. Thoughtlessly yell ‘stupid!’ at a sister and you are on the brink of hellfire. The simple moral fact is that words kill.” (Matt. 5:21-22, Msg)
“Quick, God, I need your helping hand! …Everyone talks in lie language; lies slip off their oily lips. …Into the hovels of the poor, Into the dark streets where the homeless groan, God speaks: ‘I’ve had enough; I’m on my way to heal the ache in the heart of the wretched.’ God’s words are pure words, pure silver refined seven times… God, keep us safe from their lies, from the wicked who stalk us with their lies…” (Psalm 12, Msg)
One of my New Years Resolutions for 2013 is to read – and complete – one of those Bible in a Year plans. So here I am, on Day 15, and it seems much of what I read was about words. The power of words. The gravity of the things we say.
Whatever biological and geological feats occurred in the process, we know God spoke all things into being, including humanity (Gen 1). By His word all things are held together (Heb. 1:3). With words God – and we, bearing His image – create life, meaning, purpose.
But the same creative power by which good words birth life empowers negative language as well…unto death.
Jesus said that if we so much as think ugly thoughts toward others, we’ve murdered them in our hearts; that if we speak ugly words to them, we have their blood on our hands. James reiterated it saying, “A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything – or destroy it!…With our tongues we bless God our Father with the same tongues we curse the very men and women He made in His image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth! My friends, this can’t go on…” (James 3:5,9-10)
So it seems the old nursery rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words can never hurt me” couldn’t possibly be farther from reality. In reality, words can kill. …As most of us probably know by experience.
David, though, in his groans before God, tells us that while lies “slip off the oily tongues” of the wicked, the Words of God are pure as 7-times-refined silver.
I don’t know much about science. I was always pretty science-dumb, barely scraping by with hard-won passing grades. But I know this: Silver, in its many varied forms, is one of the most potently healing properties on the planet. Historically, it has been used to clean and disinfect wounds, and protect them from further infection. It kills bacteria and promotes speedy healing for external wounds, and when ingested, colloidal silver has been known to treat all kinds of internal infections and illnesses.
And according to David, God’s words to the poor in hovels, to the groaning homeless on the darkest streets, are the purest silver. His promise to “heal the ache in the heart of the wretched” is itself the disinfecting antibiotic that heals and binds our open word-wounds after we’ve been ravaged by liars.
So today, I’m reminded to wear this as a tattoo, that it might ever be before me: If simple words hold such vast power to create or destroy, then the words I speak mean something.
And I am compelled to wear this on my person, to keep it at the forefront of my mind, especially when discussing silly and important things alike on social networking forums: The words we speak – even, and especially, from the comfort and anonymity of our homes, hidden behind computer screens on which everyone, even those nearest and dearest to us are merely avatars – matter. The way we speak matters.
They are as permanent as pen to paper, and pages and pages later tell a story of both a speaker and a hearer. Is the story I am writing one of love and truth and redemption….or not?
Will I, today, be guilty of murder? Or will I speak pure words of healing silver that bind and protect the wounded?
>> “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You, Oh God.” <<