Sticks and Stones…
“Anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” (Matthew 5:22 NIV)
The Bible tells us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5). Are we just churchgoers, or are we born again Christians with a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? Do we understand what it is to have a new heart and a renewed mind? There’s actually one acid test that will tell us how we are doing with the Lord. The Bible tells us that we can know how a person is doing spiritually by the way they talk.
The Gospel of Matthew records the words of Jesus, who said that we will give an account for the words we use. Ponder this: if Jesus were physically in the room, would we do a better job of measuring the words we use? If the answer is yes, we have to remind ourselves that the Lord is there; he’s everywhere with us. Except by the Holy Spirit, however, there is no way on earth to tame the tongue. James makes special mention of that in his New Testament letter (James 3:3-12).
There is a well-known children’s rhyme that says, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” That’s wrong! When we talk, words do have an effect. Words do have power. Words can harm us. And we can harm others with our words. Not only do we hurt others, but we also grieve the Holy Spirit when we speak wrongly to our brothers and sisters in Christ; because God loves them, and love always wants to protect the object of its devotion. Moreover, improper speech has an effect on us as well, because negative, ugly words affect our body in a negative, ugly way.
We can counteract this by praising God with our tongues instead of talking negatively, gossiping, and expressing ourselves rudely to others. In fact, vocal praise fights germs and bacteria! But it’s not just our physical health that benefits when we use our mouths to exalt the name of the Lord. Praising God out loud also has a positive impact on our mind, emotions and spiritual well-being.
Let’s ask God to help us bless him and bless others with the words we speak, starting today!
Read Matthew 5:21-26.