War of Words, Part 2
Bible Reading: 1 Peter 2:21-23; Ephesians 4:29
John 7:46, “Never has a man spoke the way this man speaks.”
That little ditty, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is simply not true. Our words have tremendous power, power to either heal or hurt, to encourage or discourage, or to bring joy or cause sorrow. We can build others up with our words or tear them down. In the deep recesses of my memory are things I heard even so far back as my childhood that were especially hurtful, and other loving things that helped me along.
The God-man Jesus Christ was born into a world of troubled tongues. His speech was according to His nature, full of “grace and truth” (John 1:14). He spoke only truth, but His speech was also always characterized by grace. He who knew no sin and never sinned had a perfect tongue. The religious leaders once sent men to arrest Jesus. When they returned without Him, the leaders asked why. Their response, “Never has a man spoke the way this man speaks (John 7:46)! Never indeed! The extent of man’s tongue troubles was dramatically demonstrated at the cross. Jesus, the creator of all things, had come into the world to save (1 Timothy 1:15). He purposed to go to that cross for lost sinners like you and me. Though He had done nothing wrong, He was falsely accused and tried and convicted. Then the multitudes cried out for His crucifixion! As He hung on the cross, He was mocked and insulted—by the leaders, the soldiers, those passing by, and even by the two thieves who were crucified with Him (until one experienced a change of heart). As they hurled insults, He spoke contrary words, saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). How contrary was Jesus to the ways of men! How glorious is the measure of His grace! Against the backdrop of such a cacophony of misery and hate, His words from the cross stand as the most melodious ever uttered. His death on the cross is of sin “the double-cure,” cleansing from its “guilt and power.” In Him alone, by faith in Him alone, do we find both forgiveness of sins and His power to be changed.
The Apostle Peter would later write of how we, as believers, need to follow Jesus’ example, saying, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:21-23). Peter then went on to say: “To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead. For the one who desires life, to love and see good days, must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.” (1 Peter 3:8-10).
Ephesians 4:29 is a great verse to memorize and put into practice! It says, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” Someone has put together a little acrostic which speaks to some of what we find here: THINK before you speak—Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind? You’ve the power, in the words you use, to be of great encouragement to someone on this very day!
Take my voice and let me sing always, only for my King
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee