“Words kill. Words give life. They are either poison, or fruit, you choose.” (Proverbs 18:21, The Message)
Pretty heavy stuff when you think about it.
Like me, you may be more familiar with the translation I grew up with (NIV):
“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”
Power of LIFE and DEATH?
Like I said – pretty heavy.
I mean, are words by THEMSELVES really all that powerful? Somewhere deep down I think we all know the answer is YES.
I often think of the girl from Florida that threw herself from a water tower a few years back after being horribly bullied (cyber and otherwise) by a group of the ULTIMATE, ‘mean girls’. For months, they they shelled out words like, “you should just kill yourself,” and “you should drink bleach and die.”
If you are like me, some tragedies just really hit you hard in the gut. Her story, 12-year old Rebecca Sedwick from Sebring, Florida – did that to me.
I remember when it happened, I couldn’t stop thinking about that poor girl – agonizing about her mother’s grief, about her pain that wasn’t able to find a voice. I wondered if she tried for a while to get back up, to get past all those evil intentions. At some point she must’ve started to BELIEVE those horrible words, and just given in. Then POOF, her short life was just GONE.
I wondered what could’ve happened if someone had reached her in time? What if someone had pulled her aside and spoken words of LIFE into her heart?
“You are a BEAUTIFUL child of GOD. You are created for a wonderful purpose and you are defined by what GOD says about you, NEVER by those other voices. NO, those are LIES! There is HOPE, LIGHT, PEACE, and PROMISE to be had for your life; and NO ONE, especially not a pack of mean girls with hatred in their hearts, can ever snatch it from you!
If only someone had been able to see. If they had only acted while there was still time.
But they didn’t. Tragic indeed.
So I pondered and agonized for a while until I realized the most obvious truth of all.
Her story and others like it are the wakeup call that never stops ringing, because there are Rebeccas all around right now – waiting, needing, hoping to be rescued from words of death.
They live next to us, work with us, serve us our coffee… They’re right here, perhaps just moments or days away from a possibly disastrous outcome if they aren’t yanked back from the abyss. Given healing words of LIFE and TRUTH, and eventually enough to lead them to experience that life-giving fountain from the source Himself – with a supply that can NEVER be taken from them, not through any storm or conflict.
Thinking about Rebecca, it was only one of many times that I have known deeply I never again wish to use my words to hurt. (Oh, don’t get me wrong friends, there have been plenty of times – lashing out in anger, pride, bitterness). I have unleashed the dark, killing power of the tongue with the best of them.
I’m not proud, nope; but although I still stumble, things are very different now — in ways I could never have guessed.
I’m thankful for a God who has taught me to see I can’t change on my own, but that I can BE changed by allowing His light to shine THROUGH me.
I’m thankful for a God who has placed in me (for many moons now) a deep desire to spread ENCOURAGEMENT, JOY, and PEACE into this dying world – A mission that starts in my own home and hopefully expands outward until as many people that can be touched by this single soul are reached, and even changed.
A bold and lofty mission for sure, but then again — ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE WITH GOD.
And as long as we have breath, theres STILL time to make a difference.
With that truth in mind, I launch into this new year with a new and improved mission to:
– ALWAYS use my words for LIFE – never for death;
– SPREAD those words of life into the world by any means possible; and
– BECOME in word and deed, the actualization of a concept that was born in my heart a few years ago, an “Encourager for Christ.”
Welcome to my Encouragers for Christ blog.
I hope you will read along as I shed more light about this personal mission in future posts, but until then, may God fill your heart with light, peace, and joy.