Do We Need To Say It?
Ah, the power of words. Sometimes I think that it would be easier if I were born mute. If I couldn’t speak, I would not be able to say words that hurt people, or words that were not meant to hurt people, but did. Words that could be taken in the wrong way, for good or for bad. Words that tried to elevate myself or put down another. Why do words carry so much weight?
I have to go back to the very beginning. “And God said.” There are nine of those (God saids) in the first chapter of the first book of the Old Testament, Genesis. The book of beginnings. The first eight times the “God said” is followed by something that never existed before.
- Firmament (heaven)
- Waters (bodies of)
- Grasses, herbs, fruit trees
- Sun, moon, stars
- Animal life of sea and air
- Animal life of earth
- Humans (male and female)
These were all created over 6 days, (bodies of water, land and vegetation were created on the third day.) Of all of His creation, He gave humans something extra. His breath.
Genesis 2:7, “And the LORD GOD formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
It is impossible to use our voice without breath. We are able to speak out loud when air, as we exhale, passes through the folds of our vocal chords. This vibration causes the unique sound waves of our voices. I find it so amazing that God shared not only His intent when He spoke us into being, but He shared His breath with us to make us a living soul. And with that breath, we can speak too. And those words have creative power. Power to build up and power to tear down.
I am a big proponent of Ann Voscamp’s mantra “Only speak words that make souls stronger.” But there are times I fail. Miserably. I have to remind myself that just as God breathed life into Adam’s nostrils and he became a living soul, God breathes life into me as I follow the example of His Son, Jesus. When I choose to love and forgive. When I choose to examine my own heart before judging another’s.
Matthew 12:34, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
Every time I say something that I shouldn’t have, whether the words were wrong, or the timing was wrong, or vice versa, or both, I have to examine my heart. Maybe silence would have been a better choice. Can you relate? Only God has a perfect enough heart to speak and only good, always good, be the outcome.
Any time I dare to think that when bad things happen to good people, like cancer, persecution, injustice or other types of tragedy, I want to question God. I do. Still, after He has given me so much and proved His goodness to me time and again. I wonder why He could not have spoken good, or what I consider to be good over that person and caused it to happen. And He appeared silent. Knowing that all the while He has told me in Isaiah 55:8-9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” I would not want to believe in a God that thought or did things like me, I am no match for his wisdom and power.
In our nation today, there is a lot of injustice. A lot of anger and revenge and disillusion. And fear. And a lot of words that aren’t helping. I have to believe that it is because they are not necessarily the right words for healing and hope. Only God’s Word holds those.
Only what God has said is what will stand and win the victories we are all longing for. And we may not even know that is what we are longing for because we are looking at the symptoms and not the root cause of our problems. Sin. We just feel this hunger for righteousness, for things to be made right that never will be, apart from a right relationship with our Creator. He is the Source for words that speak peace and calm into chaos. There are some of those voices out there and you know them when you hear them.
John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”
Yet, what are we supposed to do with all this anger and energy we feel when something atrocious happens and injustice follows? Could I suggest that we might first try energetic self-examination and repentance…energetic intercessory prayer…energetic worship…energetic love for others. Energetic reading and memorization of Scripture. (And may I add that in the day of COVID, all of this can be done while social distancing.) Perhaps if we do this first, we might be able to use words that build up, that bring about justice, that heal and give hope, and finally with wisdom, answer the question, “Do We Need To Say It?” And if we do, do so with kindness and courage.
Ephesians 4:14-15, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head even Christ:”