Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit. -Proverbs 18:21 (MEV)
How often am I reminded that words can be hurtful and utterly destructive. I had a painful reminder of that earlier this summer that I hope not to repeat anytime soon. We must be careful when engaged in controversy to guard our words cautiously, because once they are out, it is too late to retract them. Oh, we may try to take them back through apologies and such, but even in the midst of forgiveness, things are remembered.
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. -James 3:6
Throughout Proverbs and elsewhere in the Bible we are warned to use our words sparingly and cautiously. Even idle words shall be judged: But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. -Matthew 12:36
Pride goes before destruction,
And a haughty spirit before stumbling.
-Proverbs 16:18 (NASB)
Sometimes, I think the greatest cross a Christian can have to bear is that of a worldly, material nature. With success can often come a spirit of independence that can replace the spirit of dependence upon God. As soon as I remove God from the center of my thoughts and life, I drift into an area that leaves me feeling empty and compels me to return to Him. I guess I should consider myself lucky, as some become very comfortable in their prison of comfort and, ultimately, sin.
Better is a little with the fear of the Lord
Than great treasure and turmoil with it.
-Proverbs 15:16 (NASB)
He who conceals hatred has lying lips,
And he who spreads slander is a fool.
When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable,
But he who restrains his lips is wise. -Proverbs 10:18-19 (NASB)
Not very long ago, I had an altercation with my stepson and words were spoken between us that won’t soon be forgotten, to say the least. After that, I found in myself to have an intense dislike of him (in fact, hatred is a word I don’t like but it might fit, to be honest). I have struggled with this now for [what will soon be] a couple of months. Much of this could have been avoided if we were both able to restrain our mouths from saying some of the things we did. The situation was provocative, and while I still feel I was in the right to do what I did that caused the stir in the first place, I could have walked away until things cooled down– and not referred to him as a “loser who has nothing.” No matter what he did, that was not right for me to say. Some people may be bad or losers, but that’s not for me to say. He was created by God– just as I was.
I now pray for him and his girlfriend (also involved) to have the “blessings of Abraham” as described in Deuteronomy 28. Since I have begun to do that, he doesn’t seem so bad and I can more easily come to terms with both him and my own self in all of this. A little time in the book of James (specifically chapter 4) has also helped me to see my part in this. I am reminded when reading that chapter that the source of quarrels for me is when either I or the person I’m in conflict with (or both) don’t get something we want.
One thing I have discovered about the Bible: it has all the answers I need, if I but inquire of the Lord and spend time in His Word. Amen? Amen!
I have this little app on my phone that displays a different proverb each day. it’s neat, because it will remind me of the importance of receiving daily wisdom from the Word of God. Recently it displayed Proverbs 13:25, which says: The righteous eateth to the satisfying of his soul: but the belly of the wicked shall want.
Many years ago, at a 12 step convention, I heard a speaker talk about the “God box” that she tried so often to put things into that were not of God. She tried putting men, drugs and alcohol, all sorts of things that brought momentary satisfaction at a dear price. Her evenings often started in nirvana and ended in jail– or (at the very least) wanting more as she tried to cure the insatiable lust for “feeling good.”
How about you? Are you feeling satisfied? How about partaking of the bread of life? And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst. -John 6:35