Bible Reading: Proverbs 25.11-18
Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken in right circumstances. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold is a wise reprover to a listening ear. Like the cold of snow in the time of harvest is a faithful messenger to those who send him, for he refreshes the soul of his masters. Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of his gifts falsely. By forbearance a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue breaks the bone. Have you found honey? Eat only what you need, that you not have it in excess and vomit it. Let your foot rarely be in your neighbor's house, or he will become weary of you and hate you. Like a club and a sword and a sharp arrow is a man who bears false witness against his neighbor.
One of the many symptoms of our nation in crisis is our national conversation about firearm ownership. It is a constitutional right, yet many would challenge that right, pointing to all the gun related violence occurring around us. Indeed, we see guns used to hurt and kill in our inner cities and our suburbs alike. We see gun violence irrespective of race. We see violence in our homes and places of business. We have even seen it in schools and even in churches.
I should point out here that this is not intended to be a political commentary, but instead a precursor to a deeper truth about ourselves. You see, many gun owners are decent, law-abiding citizens who wouldn’t even think of harming someone with their guns. They simply look forward to a day at the shooting range, or even the opening of hunting season. Many Christians are also gun owners. It’s incomprehensible to us why someone would reasonably and rationally decide to murder another human. We are very careful with our weapons, using them safely and wisely, and keeping them under lock and key when not in use.
But we have another weapon at our disposal that is also very dangerous, perhaps equally so as firearms. We ALL have one. What is this weapon? Why, our tongues of course. The tongue when unleashed can strike out in hatred or anger and do much damage. We can hurt and injure someone else so deeply that the wounds can seemingly never heal. Such damage from a Christ follower should not happen.
In the same way we would safely lock our firearms away, we so also need to measure that same amount of caution when using our tongues. Our tongues should be used to build each other up, and not tear apart. The Apostle Paul repeatedly told the church at Thessalonica to encourage one another. That is indeed part of our purpose here. Making disciples is not just about sharing the gospel. It’s also about building up the body of Christ with sound doctrine, loving grace, and the building through encouragement those around us. It doesn’t stop at the doors to the church either. Encouragement should be given to all those around us, even to those who don’t believe. Let us therefore tame our tongues, so that Christ may be glorified and the church built up.
Memory Verse: Like cold water to a weary soul, so is good news from a distant land. Proverbs 25.25