Reading: Matthew 12:33-37
“… A tree is recognised by its fruit… For 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.”
I used to have a problem of hating to the point of bitterness people who make up stories then gossip about me. It was unfathomable to me that real people could be like the villains we see in movies, but unfortunately that’s the reality! I always felt that I had to defend myself, wondering whether I should pro-actively carry out a disclaiming campaign (my pride said this was beneath me though), or just hold my head high.
The good thing about continuously reading God’s Word is it reminds us Who our confidence is and with Whom we are to put our hope—these help me view things in God’s perspective, and guide me on how to respond to circumstances. It restores my peace. I can walk not with my head high, but with joy and kindness in heart, perhaps a spring in my steps, my countenance ready for a smile. What used to be hate, contempt, resentment and bitterness reduce to ‘plain pain’–if I could put it that way—and in time the pain only comes up when reminded of the event (best to turn off the ‘movie’ when it starts playing in the head again), until that time when He will wipe away every tear from my eyes (read Revelations), and when the former things will no longer come to mind (read Isaiah).
Not only does the Lord give us peace, confidence and joy in the midst of hostility, He also places compassion in our hearts. His love puts in us a desire to snatch His creation away from hell. Hell is so dreadful. When I read from God’s Word the punishment for lying lips (oh how the Lord abhors it, and He calls the devil the father of liars!), and realise that it is actually a frequently recurring theme, it sends shivers down my spine. And everyone will be judged not just for malicious and judgmental words but for empty and careless ones as well. I suppose that includes unproductive chatter and words spoken unmindfully causing humiliation and pain.
In some situations we are victims, and yet, we could also be offenders. Word of Life, have mercy on us! May the words that come out of our mouths be life-giving.
Lord, who may dwell in your sanctuary?
Who may live on your holy hill?
He whose walk is blameless
and who does what is righteous,
who speaks the truth from his heart
and has no slander on his tongue,
who does his neighbour no wrong
and casts no slur on his fellow-man….
He who does these things will never be shaken.
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body will also rest secure.
– Psalm 15:1-3,5; 16:5-6,9