Scripture: “Rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
I have been watching a lot of movies with my kids these days. Whereas movie nights were a weekend activity, now we can’t remember what day it is anyway, so movie night seems like a great idea. I remember one of these movies, Jumanji (some sequel, don’t ask me which one…), had a good deal of sword fighting in it. Whenever the sword hit someone they either dissolved into thin air because they had lost a live in the game, or the wound was immediate and visible. A sword is a deadly weapon, or at least it was in this grade B family-friendly action movie.
Words can be just as harmful as a sword. The tricky part is, when they wound someone, it is not noticeable like it is in the movies. They don’t dissolve before your eyes, there is no visible blood, they don’t fall over. But inside, they’re dissolving, they’re wounded. Maybe it’s a story or tragedy they carry that you do not know. Maybe they’re grieving, or sick, or scared, or hanging on by a thread. Our words, if we use them without thinking empathically about how they are heard to those who hear or read them, can be as damaging as a sword. But they can also, if they are slowed enough to keep up with our wisdom, if they are careful enough to be compassionate, can produce healing amongst the walking wounded.
In the midst of this crisis I hear a lot of words from anchors and press conferences. I read a lot of words on memes and posts and tweets. Some are rash, some are mean-spirited, some are snarky, some make me laugh, and some are wise, and thoughtful, and bring me to tears. Many of us feel helpless right now. If you are speaking and writing you still have a tool in your belt. It is a powerful tool. It can be a weapon or a healer. Use it wisely.
Prayer: Lord you have given us the freedom to use the gift of speech and communication with which we have been created. May we use it with your wisdom to bring healing to a nation and world that is wounded. Amen.
Focus: Your words hold power, take the time to wield it wisely.