Tag: Matthew 12:34-37

Deadly Words

I remember when I was in grade school and some child was being bullied and was brave enough to say to the bully, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” In trying to get the other child (or group of children) to stop, the bullied child was trying to imply that their taunts were not getting anywhere.

WikibullyWe now know those poor children were wrong. Words can hurt you. Not only can they, but countless numbers have been so adversely affected that the damage to their self-esteem lasted for a lifetime. Withdrawal and depression often result from being bullied in the past.

The most serious consequence for this callous behavior has been suicide. New words have even been created for this terrible outbreak. “Bullycide” refers to a suicide committed as a result of being bullied. Cyberbullying is so prevalent that new laws and policies are constantly being developed to try to control it.

Statistics are staggering. At the time of this writing, nearly 30 percent of students are bullies or victims of bullying, bully victims are between 2 to 9 times more likely to commit suicide than non-victims and in Britain at least half of suicides among young people were related to bullying.

Relationships have been crushed and lives have been destroyed because of words. Even in America, where the law clearly states that one is innocent until proven guilty, the mere accusation of a crime can ruin a life.

The Bible is full of warning about this very thing. The verses that have to do with our controlling our tongue – our speech – are abundant throughout scripture. Once when I did a detailed study of Proverbs. I was taken with the number of references to the words of the wicked.

Jesus was on the receiving end of this kind of evil. He was human and I am certain those words hurt. His bullies eventually had Him hung on a cross. For your sake and for mine, He allowed this to happen so that we could be with Him someday where words will never hurt us.

Jesus said,” Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted and by your words you will be condemned (Matthew 12:34-37).

The Privilege and Responsibility of Voting

Everyone knows that voting is a privilege. Not every country allows their citizens to choose their government officials. Even some countries who have elections rig the outcome, so that it is not really the voting of the people that elects an official. It is a charade.

I am very fortunate to live in a country where I get to have a say – realizing that even though my vote counts, the candidate of my choice may not be elected. I often say that I don’t have a right to complain if I don’t vote. So, I not only understand the privilege that is mine, but the responsibility that goes along with that privilege.

Voting is more than a right. My responsibility is not only to cast my vote, but to do so with as much information as possible. Unfortunately, that means filtering out the prejudice of the media and the innuendo of the opponents. In America, this has become more difficult than ever before. It is a shame that politicians don’t have enough positive things to say about themselves and their own agenda that they must take up their advertising time with accusations against the other candidate.

us-capitol-building-1

Particularly distasteful are those politicians who are so careful about their stand on an issue that it is really difficult to find out what they believe. Many of them wait to see how the population sways on an issue – then they will go that way. Whatever happened to integrity? Francis Bacon, Sr. (English lawyer and philosopher 1561-1626) said, “It’s not what we eat but what we digest that makes us strong; not what we gain but what we save that makes us rich; not what we read but what we remember that makes us learned; and not what we profess but what we practice that gives us integrity.”

In the end, of course, only God knows whether what we say matches who we are and what we believe. He does make it clear, however, that He will judge us accordingly.

“For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgement. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12: 34b-37).