Life-giving words - 29 April 2022
By Ewald Schmidt
- 1 Peter 3:9-11
Do not pay back evil with evil or cursing with cursing; instead, pay back with a blessing, because a blessing is what God promised to give you when he called you. As the scripture says: “Whoever wants to enjoy life and wishes to see good times, must keep from speaking evil and stop telling lies. They must turn away from evil and do good; they must strive for peace with all their heart.
How much of the trouble in our lives began with words? The wrong word at the wrong time has been the cause of many a man’s undoing! In so many verses in the Bible, we see how much power our words have. Words can be intensely destructive. James 3:5-6 calls it a world of evil, and a small spark setting a great forest on fire. Words of slander and curses are part of the darkness of this world around us. Evil thoughts lead to evil words and these words so easily lead to evil deeds.
But as children of God, our lives have been transformed by the love of Christ. This transformation begins in the renewal of our minds, says Romans 12:2. Jesus taught us that the mouth speaks what the heart is full of, in Luke 6:45. If our hearts are filled with the love of Christ, and the blessing of our shared life with him, words of blessing will come easily. He helps us to bless where others would insult instead. His love compels us to love our neighbour, to repay evil with blessing. We use our words, and our deeds to share the love of Christ with those still caught up in darkness. This can only come about when we are sold out to Christ, loving and serving him as our Lord.
Verse 10 of 1 Peter 3 again underlines the importance of the words we speak. It can even transform our quality of life! If you want to enjoy the blessing of the Lord, guard your tongue. We live in a dark world. When we allow our tongues to speak words of evil, and when we allow words of deceit to cross our lips, we are contributing to the expansion of darkness. But as new creatures in Christ we can also turn the tide, we can bring more light into the darkness by words honouring God, bringing beauty to those who hear it. Words of blessing bring healing; it increases the power of goodness in this world. Through words of blessing, we seek peace and pursue it.
We were called to live in peace with God. In Romans 12:18, Paul taught us that we should also extend a hand of peace to everyone: “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Use words that promote peace. Not only when you have your daily time of worship with God. Also use words of peace at your workplace, in the traffic, and when you are meeting with your friends. Honour God with your words, and transform the world around you. Your words of peace will also lift up your spirit, encourage you and fill you with hope. That helps with your quality of life and your health! Try it today!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for filling my heart with your love. Today, help me to use my words to honour you. May my words be acceptable to your ears and bring you glory! Amen