Do your Words Bless or Backfire?

When we post a comment on social media, it’s permanent.  It is indelibly stamped onto some recess of the internet, available for anyone to see at any point in time.  The same can be said of the words we speak.  However, our words are not just passively recordable, but they have an eternal effect on others and ourselves with ripple effects lasting into eternity.

Words are hurtful.  We have all been on the receiving end of this truth, knowing that a hurtful word can penetrate a soul deeper than any sharp object.  Our words have the profound ability to affect and influence people for the good and bad.

James 3:4-5, 8-10 states, “Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs.  So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things…. It is a restless evil full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God.  From the same mouth comes blessing and cursing.”

James says that it is full of deadly poison, as its venom can easily strike and maim anyone in its path.    Our words are a windows into our hearts.  Matthew 15:18 says “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”

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As I read the James passage, verse 10 stuck out to me – “with it we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse people.”  God didn’t design an instrument of praise to also be an instrument of harm.

Our words must be consistently aligned with the truth of God’s Word.  Controlling and redirecting our words is vital for building up others.  It’s not enough to bless others on social media while cursing them in private. 

2 Timothy 2:20-21 states, “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use some for dishonorable.  Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”

Here Paul is telling Timothy how to be a person God uses.  It has little to do with biblical training, church attendance or even your gifts.  It has everything to do with your willingness to seek God and cleanse yourself from sin.

God uses people that pursue Him and flee sin.

Imagine sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and the hostess comes to the table with a large crystal bowl of what looks like cornbread stuffing.  Instead of putting it on the table, she proceeds to put it on the floor next to the dog’s water dish, where the dog comes over to eat his canned dog food.    As the bowl has been made dirty by the dog food, is it now better suited for scraps for the dog or for dressing on the table?  It’s a gross analogy but it goes to show how a vessel meant for honorable purposes can quickly be allocated for dishonorable purposes once it has become dirty.

With the same mouth we bless God and curse men and then wonder why He doesn’t want to use us?  (I speak to myself more than anyone else.)  Just as a the crystal bowl was made dirty by the dog food, so are our mouths made dirty are not as useful to God.

Fortunately, just because a bowl is dirty doesn’t mean it can’t be used again.  It simply must be cleaned.  If we want to be useful vessels of honor, we must cleanse ourselves of sin by confessing it to Him.

Our words have a boomerang affect.  What comes out of our mouth ultimately affects others into eternity.  Our words play a role in how God uses us.

Fortunately, when we used our words to reflect His goodness to others, God will continue to use us.  As we know that our words have tremendous power, we can harness this power to encourage others.

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Kind words cost us nothing but their effects may be eternal.  One kind word can change someone’s entire day, week or even lifetime.  As a habit, when you see something beautiful about someone, speak it.  Proverbs 16:24 says that “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul.”

Make a point to never suppress an encouraging thought. May our lips be tight when we are tempted to speak critically and may they be loose when we see good in someone.   Let’s pray the tremendous power of our words are used to build up others so they may see their true Source.  If our words are a window into our hearts, may others see nothing but the light of God’s Love.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it so it hopefully encourages someone else.

‘Til Next Time,

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In God We Trust

So many reactions to this election swing between the two pendulums of fatalism and panic.  While one person dismisses our role in voting, feeling that God’s sovereignty deems it as irrelevant, another supports the idea that an individual simply cannot be a Christian if he or she does not vote for a certain candidate.

Matt Morton, our teaching pastor at Grace Bible Church’s Creekside Campus in College Station, Texas spoke on the role of God and government yesterday.  It provides a lot of clarity to the above views and gave me a peace about what lies before us this Tuesday and in the years ahead.

Please find some time to listen to the sermon at the link below.  God blessed me through these words and I pray they give you peace and comfort in these chaotic times.

http://www.grace-bible.org/resources/sermons/god-and-government-creekside

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Christian Reaction to the Debates

No amount of fact checking can alleviate the level of malicious, back-biting remarks on both sides.   Truths are stretched.  Relationships are fractured.  Feelings are hurt.  Worst of all, faith is unraveled….  I speak not of the televised debates between candidates, as those pale in comparison to the harsh comments between many Christians on social media.

All too often, disagreements are no longer dealt with on a face-to-face basis but on the pages of Facebook.  It’s the only place where you can bash someone’s views one moment and post a funny cat video the next.

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Unfortunately, it seems many feel social media gives them a certain amount of anonymity, as a place where one can make comments they might never say in real life – whether it be a public forum, one’s workplace or a local Starbucks.  Ironically though, Facebook acquires a greater audience than any of those places put together.

When we hurt others at the expense of proclaiming our political message, we distort the message of the Gospel of Christ.

I’m  guilty of the same.  Upon seeing someone’s comment I didn’t agree with, I felt the need to “set them straight”.  Before I knew it, I was embroiled in my own debate that, although forwarded my own prideful argument, sacrificed my main cause – the cause of Christ.

God Can Use Anyone

After my rash comments, I wondered what had come over me and arrived at one conclusion – fear.

This election is historical as there have never been two more disliked candidates in our nation’s history.  No matter your political background, the implications of either candidate becoming elected can be, well….terrifying.  It leaves one wondering the state of our country, political system and safety as a whole.

One thing is sure though…no matter who is elected on November 8th, God will still remain on His throne.  No matter the outcome, He can still use anyone to carry out His Will in spite of who tries to thwart His plans.

Scripture cites several examples of God using unfaithful individuals to bring about His Will.  King Cyrus is one such example.  After the Babylonian Captivity, he ensures the Jews return to their land and even helps them to fund the rebuilding of the Temple. Isaiah 44 clearly states that although he was a pagan king, God used him to bless His people.

Another example is when God used King Nebuchadnezzar, but for a completely different reason (Jeremiah 25).  God used this idol-worshiping king as an instrument of divine judgement to destroy Jerusalem and placed them in the Babylonian Captivity as a result of their consistent rebellion.

My point is this– God is God.  A leader’s spiritual allegiance does not limit God’s capacity to use him.  God is not limited by our actions or the agents of His Will.

Hope and of Change

The agonizing rhetoric of last night’s debate can lead one to feelings of dismay and apathy.  However, our only hope of change is our God.  We have a role in this election, not only to pray for whom our ballot is cast but to pray for God’s Will though the next administration.  Perhaps our prayers will be the vehicle He uses to bring about a blessing on this country.

While God can clearly use a non-believer, He would much prefer that both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton would conform to His Word as a faithful follower of Him.  All things are possible.

Look at Paul who referred to himself as the “chief of all sinners”.  He actually reveled in killing Christians until one fateful day on the Damascus Road when Paul put His faith in Christ for the forgiveness of His sin.  Paul is now known as the apostle who wrote the greatest number of New Testament books.

If God can change Paul, there is hope of change for our leaders.  While God can clearly work through disobedient individuals, He would much prefer working through them with their participation as followers of Him.

Our Reaction

Fear cannot be the driving force behind our conversations and actions regarding the election.   Our role is to be a light to others in a dark world.  John 1:4-5 states, “In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  No darkness can ever overcome the light of Jesus Christ and that light resides in us.

Through the power of prayer, we have a red phone on our desk to the ruler of the universe.  Although we may not feel our vote is heard, our prayers are heard by a much higher authority that the office of the POTUS.  Not only should we pray for clarity for our vote, but also for the candidate elected, whether we voted for them or not.

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In Isaiah 43:1, God reassures His people by saying, “Fear not, for I have redeemed you.  I have called you by name and you are mine.”  Little did they know that God would soon use the pagan King Cyrus to deliver them from captivity.

Although our light may feel small, it has the power to illuminate the path for those who don’t know Him yet.  While anticipating the future of the “red, white and blue”, we cannot forget where our Hope lies.  As the song says, it is where “our blood ran red but our sin was washed white.”  Our only hope resides in the cross of Christ.