Daily D – Psalm 52:4
You love to destroy others with your words, you liar! PSALM 52:4 (NLT)
You love all words that devour, O deceitful tongue. (ESV)
You love every harmful word, you deceitful tongue. (NIV)
You love any words that destroy, you treacherous tongue! (CSB)
Words are powerful. In Gen. 1, we see that words create worlds. In the Gospels, we see that words save, deliver, and heal.
In 1974, Annie Dillard won the Pulitzer Prize for Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. Why? Because she has the capacity to place words together in combinations that fire imagination and stir feelings down to their deepest depths. Words are pockets of power with amazing abilities to destroy or to edify.
One of the most painful insults of my life came when I was a boy. I can still hear those echoes today. I still feel the shame, the humiliation accompanying them. Thankfully, on the other hand, there have been many more words of affirmation and encouragement. I remember those as well and revisit them as often as necessary. Those stones of beautiful reality plot a path toward the me I want to be.
Some people seem to breathe life in all they say. Wouldn’t it be a delight to live like that? In a world of constant criticism (network and cable news, newspapers, magazines, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), how refreshing to speak words of truth and life, hope and possibility, deep joy and settled satisfaction.
Reading today’s text reminds us of Wormtongue in The Lord of the Rings. We know his kin. It is the person who always has the inside story, the untold story, the part of the story to use later as a hammer or a wedge. It is the person who questions every good thing as if it were something manipulative. It is the person who criticizes everyone and everything, whose soul is so bitter not even steak and cheesecake would bring a smile to their faces.
There are so many experts in mean speech today, why not cede that ground? Much less occupied is the turf where wise men and women say things like, “I see in you . . . ,” “What I like about you . . . ,” “You are becoming everything I ever hoped and dreamed you would be.”
Building a better world, building better humans, requires seeing possibilities and speaking words of life that form foundations upon which to stand. Who will you edify today? Who will remember the permission you gave for them to become all that God ever dreamed possible? Who will credit you for empowering them to live a life of maximum expression of honoring God and serving others?
I will speak words of truth and life.
Our Father, when we align ourselves with you, we align ourselves with truth and life. Empower us to breathe life in what we say and how we say it. Give us words that encourage, comfort, strengthen, and positively challenge those on their way toward becoming all you dreamed they would be. Rid our thoughts and our mouths of all bitterness. Empower us to speak the truth in love at all times. Amen.
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Jonah 4:2, 3 So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people. Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.”
Joel 2:12, 13 That is why the Lord says, “Turn to me now, while there is time. Give me your hearts. Come with fasting, weeping, and mourning. Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. He is eager to relent and not punish.”
Hosea 14:8, 9 “O Israel, stay away from idols! I am the one who answers your prayers and cares for you. I am like a tree that is always green; all your fruit comes from me.” Let those who are wise understand these things. Let those with discernment listen carefully. The paths of the Lord are true and right, and righteous people live by walking in them. But in those paths sinners stumble and fall.”