Only words

466 only wordsSometimes I enjoy making a musical journey into the past. An old hit by the Bee Gees from the 1960ers brought me to my current topic when I listened to the playback of the title "words". "It's just words, and words are all I have to conquer your heart."

What would songs be without words? The composers Schubert and Mendelssohn wrote a large number of "Songs without Words", but I can not remember any of them in particular. What would our services be without words? When we sing new songs, we pay great attention to the words, even if the melody is not so catchy. Famous speeches, moving sermons, great literature, inspirational poetry, even travel guides, detective stories and fairytales all have one thing in common: words. Jesus, the wonderful Savior of all humanity, is titled "Logos" or "The Word". Christians refer to the Bible as the word of God.

At the time of creation, people were also given the language. God spoke directly to Adam and Eve, and no doubt they also talked to each other. Satan used very tantalizing words to influence Eve's heart, and she repeated it to Adam in a slightly modified version. The result was catastrophic, to say the least.

After the Flood, all people spoke the same language. Verbal communication was crucial to the planning of the tower, which should "reach to the skies". But this venture was in direct contradiction to God's command to multiply and populate the earth, and so he decided to put an end to "progress." how did he do that? He confused their language, making it impossible for them to understand each other's words.

But with the new covenant came a new beginning. Many groups of people from different countries came to Jerusalem and gathered on the day of Pentecost to celebrate the festival. The festival took place shortly after Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection. All who heard Peter's speech that day were deeply astonished when they heard him preaching the gospel in their own language! Whether the miracle was hearing or speaking, the language barrier was lifted. Three thousand people understood enough to experience remorse and forgiveness. On this day, the church began.

Mastery of the tongue

Words can hurt or heal, sadden or impress. When Jesus began his ministry, people were enthusiastic about the benevolent words that came from his mouth. Later, when some of the disciples turned away, Jesus asked the twelve, "Will you also go away?" Then Simon Peter, who seldom lacks words, answered, "Lord, where shall we go? You have words of eternal life "(Joh 6,67-68).

The letter of James has a lot to say about the use of the tongue. James compares them with a spark sufficient to set a whole forest on fire. Here in South Africa we know that enough! A few spiteful words in social media can trigger a war of words that engender hatred, violence and enmity.

So how should we Christians deal with our words? As long as we are made of flesh and blood, we will not be able to do it perfectly. James writes: "He who does not fail in the Word is a perfect man" (Jak 3,2). There was only one person who was perfect; none of us succeed. Jesus knew exactly when he had to say something and when it was better to keep silent. The Pharisees and law teachers repeatedly tried to "catch him in his words," but failed.

We can ask in prayer that we pass on the truth in love. Love can sometimes be "hard love" when it is necessary not to mince words. It may also mean considering the effect on others and finding the right words.

I remember it very well when I was a kid, and my dad said to me, "I have a word with you to talk about." That could only mean that a censure would follow, but if he exclaimed, "Have you still words! ", then it usually meant something good.

Jesus assures us, "Heaven and earth will pass away; but my words will not pass "(Mat 24,35). My favorite biblical passage is at the end of the Revelation of John, where it says that God will make everything new, a new heaven and a new earth, where death will be no more, nor suffering nor screaming nor pain. Jesus asked John, "Write, for these words are true and certain!" (Off 21,4-5). Jesus' words, as well as the indwelling Holy Spirit, are all that we have and what we need to enter God's glorious Kingdom.

by Hilary Jacobs

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