We can pretend it's not, but it is.
We can ignore the reality of the darkness that happens in our lives, or we can face it head on. I choose to face it.
Because if I don't, I'm pretty sure I could describe what would happen. I'd be like a shell of a person. I'd be unfeeling. I'd be unloving. I'd be unsympathetic. I would never want to hurt with you if you were hurting. I would never cry with you when you were crying. I would never simply be with you in your pain. Nor would I be with you in your joy. I would try to find all the easy answers for all the "why's"....and those easy answers would suffice.......for a little while.
I'm talking about this because the circles I run in have lots of people who like to gloss over reality and slap a big band-aid on the bad, hoping to cover it up....and that it will all go away and nobody will notice. That is never a good thing. What happens is things will get worse. And all things that are covered up have a way of finding their way out of the darkness.
Talking. I think that's a good place to start. Not just shallow talking, but talking about both the good and the bad. The Church in America is REALLY good about talking about the "good" things (because I think good is a relative term) but downright horrible when it comes to talking about tragedy. We are quick to blame either ourselves or someone else.....and we never really know what to do with tragedy when it happens to us. Much less the tragedy of others. We are often like Job's friends.....though someone we know is hurting beyond belief, for a very long time, we like to pass judgment on them and tell them all the reasons these horrible things are happening. (We need to be reminded of what God said to Job's friends at the end of that story!) We've become a society that says, "I don't believe in prosperity preaching, the belief that good happens to those doing good and bad happens to those who are doing bad".....but we LIVE exactly that way.
Words. Marriages begin with them. Wars start with them. Friendships begin with them. Relationships are shattered with them.
It is with our words we pray to God. And with those same words we tear down one another. It is with words that we whisper to our lovers. And with those same words that spouses whisper to mistresses. It is with words we talk about the sanctity of life, yet tear down lives everyday with the evil things we speak, and the slander we spread about one another. It's with our words we say we believe in the truth and love, yet we still spread lies and hatred. Words. They are important.
I've been told some pretty hateful things. And I'll be honest, they have hurt. The whole "sticks and stones" saying is NOT TRUE. Words hurt. They scar. They stick to us sometimes. And the Bible has plenty to say about our words. To me, if the Bible speaks so many times about the words we say.....I think we need to PAY ATTENTION. Instead of mentioning all the shallow, unloving things I've been told that have stuck with me (which would be a very long list...I'd be willing to bet your list would be long, too.....and by the way, there are many things I've said to others that I wish I could take bake....I speak to myself here, as well as others...) I am going to list a bajillion Scriptures written to us on what we say, and in what way we need to be saying these things. Let's be honest, the church needs some help in this area. In a world where the church is supposed to be a city on a hill, we're quickly becoming known as a village in a valley. I think one of the ways to start is with examining how we're living....and what we're saying to one another. I hope it is encouraging, because if you're anything like me....I need all the encouragement I can get. I believe we were meant to live this life in community.....and if that's so, we'd better start paying attention to what's going on outside our doors, to those in and out of the church, and to those who are hurting. We need to learn to be loving again, (both in words and action) and get rid of this judgmentalism that is associated with the church in America. Whether we like it or not, that is how many see the church today. We can sit and say all the reasons we think that is wrong, or we can stop arguing and start ACTIVELY living out the life of love we were called to by the One we say we follow. One good place to start is by examining our words.....and the hearts from which they come. I mean, words must mean a lot, right? God did create with His very words..............
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."
"Hear my prayer, O God; give ear to the words of my mouth."
"On account of the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, let them even be caught in their pride, and on account of curses and lies which they utter."
"Listen, O my people, to my instruction, incline your ears to the words of my mouth."
"They pour forth words, they speak arrogantly; all who do wickedness vaunt themselves."
"How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth."
"I rise before dawn and cry for help; I wait for Your words."
"My son, give attention to my words, incline your ear to my sayings."
"Put away from you a deceitful mouth and put devious speech far from you."
"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. Do not say to your neighbor, 'Go, and come back, and tomorrow I wil give it,' when you have it with you."
"A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, but the mouth of fools spouts folly.
"Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones."
"Evil plans are an abomination to the LORD, but pleasant words are pure."
"A man will be satisfied with good by the fruit of his words, and the deeds of a man's hands will return to him."
"An evildoer listens to wicked lips; a liar pays attention to a destructive tongue."
"He who restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is considered prudent."
"The words of a man's mouth are deep waters; the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook."
"A fool's lips bring strife, and his mouth calls for blows. A fool's mouth is his ruin, and his lips are the snare of his soul."
"With the fruit of a man's mouth his stomach will be satisfied; he will be satisfied with the product of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."
"There is gold, and an abundance of jewels; but the lips of knowledge are a more precious thing."
"He who goes about as a slanderer reveals secrets, therefore do not associate with a gossip."
"He who guards his mouth and his tongue, guards his soul from troubles."
"Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances."
"These are the things which you should do: speak the truth to one another; judge with truth and judgment for peace in your gates."
"But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, 'You good-for-nothing' shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, 'You fool,' shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell."
"Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock."
"Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand."
"The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
"'This people honors ME with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.' And Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, 'Hear and understand. It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.'"
"But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders."
"Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away."
"Treat others the same way you want them to treat you."
"Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory...."
*All of John*
"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life."
"He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me."
*I Corinthians 16:14*
"Let all that you do be done in love."
"Therefore, laying aside falsehood, SPEAK TRUTH EACH ONE of you WITH HIS NEIGHBOR, for we are members of one another."
"Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear."
"speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord;"
"For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
"This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger;"
"So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things."
"Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit."
"You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue."
"Who have sharpened their tongue like a sword. They aimed bitter speech as their arrow,"
"The lips of the righteous bring forth what is acceptable, but the mouth of the wicked what is perverted."
"There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Truthful lips will be established forever, but a lying tongue is only for a moment."
"She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue."
"But no one can tame the tongue, it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way."
*I Peter 3:10*
"For, 'The ONE WHO DESIRES LIFE, TO LOVE AND SEE GOOD DAYS, MUST KEEP HIS TONGUE FROM EVIL AND HIS LIPS FROM SPEAKING DECEIT.'"
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Posted by jesnicole at 8:15 PM