Words Matter

Psalm 12:5-8 (The Message)
Into the hovels of the poor, into the dark streets where the homeless groan, God speaks: “I’ve had enough; I’m on my way to heal the ache in the heart of the wretched.” God’s words are pure words, pure silver words refined seven times in the fires of his word-kiln, pure on earth as well as in heaven. God, keep us safe from their lies, from the wicked who stalk us with lies, from the wicked who collect honors for their wonderful lies.

There is a story in Genesis where we’re told that God “saw the wickedness of humankind was great in the earth” (Genesis 6:5a) and decided to send a world-covering flood to “restart” creation. But, before the flood arrived, God told Noah– “a righteous man, blameless among the people of his time”— that it was about to happen. God gave Noah and his family instructions on how to build a big floating vessel to ride out the flood with a collection of every kind of creature on earth.

But… we’re not going to talk about Noah today…

Instead, we’re going to look at the people God saw acting in wicked ways. God say that “every inclination of the thoughts of their hearts was only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5b). Wow… that wasn’t a particularly healthy or happy way to live!

And, unfortunately, we know that evil inclinations didn’t cease after the flood. It seems that this is a basic part of the human condition, one with which we struggle in every age. So, how can we keep the inclination of our hearts from leaning in the direction of destructive and unhealthy ways?

In the posting “Good Advice Ignored,” we considered how our thoughts influence our actions: Cain’s refusal to examine and change his attitude led to a painful, irrevocable act. Today’s reading from Psalm 12 shows how important our words are, as well. It gives us an incredible comparison between God’s words and the words of the world:

God’s words: healing, pure, refined, flawless.
The world’s words: damaging, wicked, boastful.
God’s words: protective and safe.
The world’s words: oppressive and deceptive.

Words are powerful! In Matthew 15:11, Jesus was talking about this fact when he said to a group of followers, “It’s not what goes into the mouth that contaminates a person in God’s sight. It’s what comes out of the mouth that contaminates the person.”

In other words… words matter.

What does the way that you speak say about what you believe?

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