One of the themes running throughout the book of Proverbs is the importance of the words that we speak. Whilst reading Proverbs chapter 12 last Sunday I came across the following verse:
“Some people making cutting remarks, but the words of the wise bring healing.” (Proverbs 12:18 – NLT)
What a wonderful verse! Just think that the words we speak to others can bring healing. We can be a vessel through which God brings healing to others. This is indeed good news.
However, this verse has two parts to it and I expect many of us have been guilty of the first part of it, making cutting remarks. The part of the verse is even more hard hitting in the NIV:
“Reckless words pierce like a sword”
Our words are very powerful. They can bring both damage and healing to others. It’s so important to remember this before we open our mouths. In Proverbs 13v3 we are told:
“Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything.”
There have been so many times in my life when I have opened my mouth and said something that has ruined situations. Sadly more times than I would care to remember. Once the words leave my mouth I cannot bring them back. It’s not possible to delete or recall them. They have been said and heard by others. One can apologise but unfortunately the damage may already have been done.
However, it does not have to be like that. Instead of using words that can ruin everything we can use words that bring healing to others. What a privilege and honour it is to say something that brings healing to others. Who would not want to be the person who can bring healing to others though our words?
We need to learn to think before we speak. The apostle James tells us:
“My dear brothers, take note of this. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”
Just think of how much of a blessing we might be to others if we actually did this!
Our church is currently doing a course called “Christianity Explored” which is based on the gospel of Mark. During this course we have discovered that Mark is really asking a question in the first half of his gospel: Who is Jesus?
Jesus himself asked his disciples: “Who do you say I am?” and Peter responded to this question by saying “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29).
One of the things that has struck me as we have read through Mark is the number of miraculous signs and healings that Jesus did. The following are all recorded in Mark’s gospel before Jesus asked his disciples the “Who do you say I am?” question:
- Driving out an impure spirit (Mark 1: 21-28)
- Healing Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31)
- Healings and driving out of demons (Mark 1:32-33)
- Healing a man with leprosy (Mark 1:40 – 45)
- Forgiving and healing a paralysed man (Mark 2:1-12)
- Healing a man with a shrivelled hand (Mark 3:1-6)
- Healings and driving out of demons (Mark 3:10-11)
- Calming of the storm (Mark 4:35-41)
- Healing and restoring a demon possessed man (Mark 5:1-18)
- Raising a dead girl and healing a sick woman (Mark 5:21-43)
- Healings (Mark 6:5)
- Feeding the five thousand (Mark 6:30-44)
- Walking on water (Mark 6:45-52)
- Healings (Mark 6:55-56)
- Driving out of a demon (Mark 7: 24-30)
- Healing a deaf and mute man (Mark 7:31-37)
- Feeding the four thousand (Mark 8:1-9)
- Healing a blind man (Mark 8:22-26)
It’s amazing when you consider all those wonderful miraculous acts that Jesus performed in the first half of Mark’s gospel. For Peter there was no other way to respond to the question: “Who do you say I am?” than to declare that Jesus was the Messiah.
I wonder if we perhaps are sometimes guilty of losing the amazement of what Jesus did due to the familiarity of the gospel readings to us? When we ponder the wonderful works that Jesus did let us allow ourselves to be amazed at what he did.
Also, like Peter let us answer confidently and boldly the question: Who is Jesus?