King David’s son Solomon wrote in the book of Proverbs, “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat it’s fruit.” (18:21)
Here’s the question….what kind of fruit would you like to eat? Fresh, juicy, vitamin filled, or rotten, nasty and filled with parasites? Easy answer right? I’ll take the first one!!!!
But Solomon says…our words, our conversation daily are like those two choices…and both we, and the people we serve the “fruit” of our words to will either be strengthened or poisoned.
I remember my Senior year of High School…I’d only been a Christian for a very short period of time, and I needed someone to write me a reference to go to Johnson Bible College. As many of you know the six years preceding my surrender to Christ had been very rebellious ones…drugs, darkness, rejection of any authority….including God and His Word. So, six months after that lengthy time of rebellion, finding someone excited to write me a reference to go to Bible College (outside my immediate family) was tough. I remember going to one of my parent’s longtime friends, a leader in the Church where we attended and telling him the situation and asking if he would write that reference….his response, “Not on your life…I don’t trust you and I’m not going to put my name on the line for you.”
I remember my soul feeling like a balloon that had been pierced by a needle. The life went out of me…almost a sense of hopelessness and despair. I was only 18 then, so I look back now and at least at 53 I can understand this man’s concern. What I do not understand is his failure to at least think like Jesus in terms of redemption. Inside I knew I wasn’t the same…there just hadn’t been enough time gone by to prove it to the outside world. I’m pretty sure that was kind of what the Apostle Paul was trying to communicate when all the believers, except one or two, were afraid of him right after his conversion. You can hear them say, “What…are you kidding….he arrested my Mom, he persecuted my Uncle….I don’t trust him!” The words that came from that first leader were like poisoned fruit…I’m not sure how he felt, but I know how I felt.
So, with great, great trepidation I went to my Dad’s Boss, Bill Bachanan, the Chairman of the leaders at our Church and said, “Mr. Bachanan, I need a reference to go to Bible Collage…I know what my life’s been like, but I’m not the same anymore…would you write it for me…I don’t want you to do anything but tell the truth.” And he laughed out loud and said, “Ricky, I’d be honored to do that…and I want you to read it.”
It was honest about my past…but filled with Scriptural words about forgiveness and grace….and redemption. After reading Mr. Bachanan’s letter, all the air was back inside the balloon…and even more.
Today we write part of our life’s story…and the words we put on the page are important….They are important because those of us who follow Christ claim to have the words which are powerful enough to save everyone. The Gospel…the :Good News…is the story of Jesus sacrifice for all sin, and His resurrection from death. How can people who claim to be representatives for “the resurrection and the life,” speak words of death. Important question, huh? Someday I won’t be the one asking that question.
Looking for the right words,