二○一九年四月二十七日／四月二十八日 Click here for English version
Reflections on Words
Rev Gordon Siu
More often than not, the power and impact of our words goes beyond imagination. The Bible tells us: "Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect" (James 3:2). Indeed, anyone who can use the right words at the right time — and say them with integrity — can put his life in order, and walk in the light.
Words can destroy, as they can build. The Proverbs is full of sayings like these: "The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" (Proverbs 12:18); "The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit" (Proverbs 15:4). Anyone who is prepared to exercise caution in his words and learn to say the right words at the right time will find his life like a spring. Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water that nourishes others' hearts.
How can we say words of blessing? We must be determined to "turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14). We must consciously keep our tongue from evil and our lips from deceit. The Book of Jude tells us that when the archangel Michael disputed with the devil about the body of Moses, he "did not himself dare to condemn him for slander but said, 'The Lord rebuke you!'" In front of the devil that most deserves condemnation, a powerful and majestic archangel dared not condemn him for slander, but only pointed out the devil's mistake in accordance with the sovereignty and truth of God. That is a good example for humans.
What do we do after removing all malice and deceit? "Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, … and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk" (1 Peter 2:1-2). When we do not have the words of God — the pure spiritual milk — in us, we cannot easily say things that benefit those who listen. Although we are not newborn babies, we need to be like them. We need to know what we need and incessantly seek the Word of God.
An ancient Chinese saying goes like this: "Rumors stop at a wise person." We not only seek good and wise words, but should also guard against spreading hatred and foolishness. "Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down" (Proverbs 26:20). We must first be accommodating. At the same time, we need to know that there is always falsehood in gossips and rumors, and we do not allow our words to stir up misunderstanding or dispute.
The Apostle Paul faced serious slander and attack. Nevertheless, he said: "When we are cursed, we bless; … when we are slandered, we answer kindly" (1 Corinthians 4:12).
[The original Chinese article is taken from 《牧野心路》(Listen to the Heart of A Shepherd) by Rev. Gordon Siu, published by North Point Alliance Church in 1993]