Have ever been so embarrassed you wanted to put a bag over your head, or curl up and die? Eight years ago, I oversaw the game station at a Vacation Bible School. And the game we played and the lesson I gave one day ended early and we had a few minutes to spare. So, I started playing Simon Says with the kids to kill the remaining time. And it was going great until…. During one of the rounds I touched my shins and meant to say, “Simon says touch your shin.” But another four-letter word came out. And despite immediately correcting myself, everyone heard it and I just wanted to curl up and die. I was so embarrassed. But as you’ve probably guessed, that is not the worse thing that has come out of my mouth. I have beaten and stabbed people with my words. And as I look back, I’m not just embarrassed. I am ashamed.
Brothers and sisters, the old phrase, “sticks and s tones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me,” is one of the most foolish phrases ever conceived by man. Every single one of us can remember word-formed knives that have pierced our soul and word-formed knives we have used to pierce others. Proverbs 18:21 is true. The power of death is in the tongue. The pain of words can linger far longer and pierce far deeper than physical pain.
Right now, the world is full of death producing words. Even amongst Christians. Christians who disagree over the proper response to this pandemic are launching words of death at each other. You don’t believe me. Just check out Facebook. There you will see people crushing each other with words that will sting far beyond this pandemic. This is embarrassing. It’s shameful. It’s sin. And Christians need to be the first to stop it.
But with all the words of death we have spoken there is still hope. Proverbs 18:21 not only says the power of death is in the tongue, it also says the power of life is in the tongue. You and I can use our tongues to ask each other for forgiveness and experience healing. You and I, despite our opinions over this temporary trial can speak encouragement. And most importantly, if we are believers in Jesus Christ, we can speak LIFE! We can share the good news of Jesus Christ that breathes life into sinners’ souls and produces in them eternal life. You and I can speak of Jesus’s death on the cross that paid for all mankind’s sin so that once they hear and believe they can have that payment applied to their account, be made right with God and receive eternal life.
Today I encourage you. Speak words that produce life.