In light of Saturday’s event in Tucson and this week’s discussions, I felt it important to dialog about the choice of our words. We often teach our children the catchy phrase, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As adults, however, we know that phrase is simply not true. Words do hurt. In fact, the Bible says that words kill.
I’m disheartened about the state of our political climate right now and I’m not a fan of The View talk show. But the truth is the truth, it does not matter who speaks it. In this particular case, the women of The View speak it:
This post is a warning to all of us (especially leaders) that people cannot use careless “reload” language and then dismiss our words once someone does just that. The primary blame for the Tucson murders must be placed squarely on the person who pulled the trigger. Likewise, we must all take responsibility for our actions and that includes our choice of words. This is the message of Proverbs 18:21 –
The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
Our words can bring life into a situation, and they can also kill a person’s dreams. As leaders, our words can speak a clear vision that manifests itself and positively affects the lives the millions, or they can also motivate soldiers to perform rapes and genocides. The Bible encourages us to use our words to bless people.
“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.” James 3:9-10 NIV
I understand that the government allows the practice of free speech in this country, but it is up to us as individuals to determine how we exercise our governmental rights. It is wise to consider our words carefully and to speak responsibly. Most importantly, Jesus teaches that the people who act and speak in anger and hate will receive the same judgment as a murderer.
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment.” Matthew 5: 21-22a NIV
Therefore, I choose to speak words that bring life and love. This weekend, I will be reflecting on the life and legacy of a man who did the same, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Now what do you think about murder?
© Natasha L. Robinson 2011