"The pen is mightier than the sword." - Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Have you ever been the focus of a nasty rumor or inaccurate gossip? Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone's angry tirade? Or worse yet, have you been the one dishing out the venom?
Over the last few weeks this theme has risen in several things I've been reading. How do I use my words? Words once sent out can't be taken back, like dandelion puffs, they scatter on the breath never to return. Words have the power to give life and encouragement or death and destruction. So often I find myself responding to my children with irritation in my voice. I felt chastised when I read an article reminding me that I am not only parenting my children but the generations to come as I sow my words into my children.
Scripture tells us that the power of life and death are on the tongue. I saw that again this morning as I carefully chastised my son for his disobedience. I began harshly with a superior attitude, saw him crush and crumple and realizing what I had done, carefully explained to him with gentleness and love how his actions had brought him to the place he was currently in. I saw life flow back into his spirit as he threw his scrawny arms around my neck asking for forgiveness. What a stark difference. It humbled me once again.
How cautious am I with the words I speak as I sit with friends watching my kids play sports or chatting after church in the foyer? Are the words I'm speaking going to cause hurt or misunderstanding to someone who overhears only snatches of what I say? I just read a book that had that very thing as its theme. One person overheard another make a judgment about someone they didn't really know, based on something they had heard and the whole town was suddenly up in arms, a family was desperately wounded and all manner of hurt and venom was poured out. Have I done that or participated in some way in another getting hurt by what I've said?
Lord, put a guard over my lips, if I cannot speak with love and gentleness, make me mute. Compose my heart and fill it with your Spirit when someone irritates me or there is frustration creating havoc in my mind. I want my words to bring healing, comfort and understanding. I want my example to bleed through my children so that they, too, respond to one another with gentleness rather than harsh criticism. Bless my tongue to speak your truth, seasoned with love Father. Amen.