For the past ten plus weeks, most of us have stuck pretty close to home, cooped up almost. Our intake of social media and the nightly news has been much more than normal, having a powerful impact on our hearts and minds. Our opinions about the Coronavirus situation are pretty solidified, whether it is anger, fear, sorrow, feelings of injustice or apathy. It’s hard not to let those opinions boil over into our conversations. We justify our position with those who are of the same opinion and maybe even avoid those who hold another. How easy it is to allow our conversations to overstep into gossip.
As our towns slowly open back up and we begin to interact with others on a face-to-face basis, we will need to keep ourselves in check.
An old child’s saying goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.”
How false that statement is.
Proverbs 18:21 says that words have the power of life and death.
Words are powerful.
The book of James talks about how a great ship being driven by fierce winds is turned about by a very small rudder. James contrasts how the tongue is a very small member of our body but it is full of iniquity and can set the world on fire. (See James 3:2-12)
Some of the biggest scars in our lives are a result of words.
“The words of a talebearer are as wounds, and they go down into the innermost parts of the belly.” Proverbs 18:8
Words are destructive.
Proverbs 16:28 says gossip separates close friends.
A virus is tiny, unseeable even, but can cause great sickness and spread quickly. Our little tongues can speak gossip that causes great hurt and spreads farther than ever intended.
These past months have resulted in a lot of destruction for many of us; financially, emotionally, physically. We all need encouragement and we can do so for others with our words.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.”
There are bound to be people in our churches, in our close circles of friends, or even in our family that have a different outlook on the past and present situation than we do.
While it is not wrong for us to have different opinions, we ought to have the attitude of Paul who said, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” 1 Corinthians 10:24
We have been separated physically for months and as we begin to gather together again, let’s be wise with our words and guard against creating a gulf of even greater separation.
Claim the prayer of the Psalmist who wrote, “Set a guard over my mouth, LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3
As we are learning how to best love our brothers and sisters during this time, let us begin with our smallest member, the tongue.