“Sticks and stones might break my bones but words will never hurt me!” Wrong.
As an adult I’ve long since conceded that the childhood nursery rhyme we sang to protect ourselves couldn’t be further from the truth. I no longer deny that words can inflict lasting pain but my fascination is with their power to change the world.
This ability of ours to communicate, it’s combustible.
Picture if you will the disciples of Christ sitting in an upper room waiting and praying, praying and waiting. Before leaving in the clouds, Jesus had promised to send them power to take His message to the ends of the earth. He didn’t tell them what this power would look like or how long they’d have to wait for it, only that they must.
Finally, after days and nights of waiting, after all the anticipation and questions surrounding this mysterious force Jesus had spoken of, after weeks of wondering what this supernatural aid might be and how they would wield it, God’s promised fire fell “as cloven tongues of fire.”
How interesting. Fiery cloven tongues of an other-worldly origin.
I find it fascinating that out of all the body parts the writer could’ve used to describe this amazing scene when God’s fire power fell on man, he chose a human tongue. What a visual of God’s plan to employ these fleshy instruments of ours to speak from the understanding of one human to that of another, each witnessing of the consuming fire lit in his or her heart.
In light of such a mission, is it any wonder that we’re so strictly charged to monitor our tongues and the power of language? How can we allow ourselves to use whatever words we want with whomever we want whenever we want-–knowing that God has chosen these same tongues as holy messengers to take His gospel into all the world?
From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. James 3:10
For those of us who feel called to write, these questions should weigh even heavier.
My prayer is for our words and our tongues to have fire power because they’re yielded to His will instead of our whim.