Did you know that, pound for pound, the jaw is the strongest muscle in the entire body? Nevertheless, our reading makes the case that in a battle of strength—jaw versus tongue—the tongue wins every time. While the jaw is physically strong, the tongue has the ability to inflame an environment with anger and rage. Just one lie can shatter the reputation of a person with great character. A faith-filled family can be thrown into a feud based on words from that often uncontrolled body part.
The obvious question is, Who controls your tongue? The answer is plain and simple: you. That is precisely why the apostle Paul warns us not to let any unwholesome talk come from our mouths. It’s no wonder that we are instructed not to “grieve the Holy Spirit” precisely in the midst of these warnings. In other words, our misguided and untamed words cause the Holy Spirit to grieve with deep sadness prompted by the damage ill-advised words cause. With words of rage, slander, unforgiveness, falsehood, bitterness, and gossip, the tear ducts of a sensitive, loving, brokenhearted God pour open with sorrow.
Yet our words also have the power to change the atmosphere in the room in the best ways possible! They can build people up, make them feel loved, be a soothing balm to their souls, and bring laughter in the midst of pain. They can bring life to dying relationships and hope to hopeless situations. It’s no coincidence that we are informed in Genesis that God birthed this world through the spoken word of the divine tongue. Let’s model our Creator today by speaking life to others.
Thank you, Lord, for the gift of communication, the expression of thoughts and ideas to commune with you and with others. Help us to use care as we speak life today. Amen.
David’s family was a mess. Among his children there was rape, murder, and a plot to overthrow him by his son Absalom. Violence followed, and Second Samuel tells the story of Absalom’s death. Even though Absalom had betrayed him, David still loved his son with a parent’s never-ending love—the kind of love that God demonstrates perfectly for us, as David celebrates in Psalm 34. The author of Ephesians warns against acting out of anger, wrath, and malice (the very things that tore apart David’s family). We should instead forgive, as God in Christ has forgiven us. In John, Jesus restates that he is the path to God because he teaches God’s truth. Jesus will give his own life, then raise up those who believe in him.
Read 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33. What helps you to “deal gently” with others? What makes it challenging at times?
Read Psalm 34:1-8. When have you been able to “taste and see” God’s goodness?
Read Ephesians 4:25–5:2. How do your words and actions reflect what you profess to believe about Christ?
Read John 6:35, 41-51. God comes to us in unexpected ways. Is there someone you have overlooked or dismissed as a servant of God? How can you work to see people as God sees them?
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