We often teach our children to think before they speak or be careful what you wish for. Have we ever considered telling ourselves the same advice before we pray? I know God can answer our soul’s deepest prayer without us even knowing what we should be praying for, but there’s no harm in really pondering and meditating on our prayers before we utter words from our whispers or even from our loud groaning. May we not forget that our words are powerful and can bring forth ‘death or life’.
Proverbs 18:21 “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” ESV
Do we really consider our heart condition in our prayers? Do we forget that when we love a prayer of death, we will eat it’s fruit? Are we too quick to ask for vengeance?
Hebrews 10:30 “For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.”” ESV
I know there are times when we are hurt and through that pain, anger can fester in our hearts and cause us to seek vengeance through hasty words that kill the soul..not just another soul, but ours as well.
Ephesians 4: 25Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. 26Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27and give no opportunity to the devil. 28Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. 29Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” ESV
What if your words carried the kind of power we see in the Hollywood films? In ‘Home Alone’ we saw Kevin get angry and shout that he wished he didn’t have a family, only to wake up the next day and they were all gone. We even see examples in the bible as Haman’s own thoughts and heart condition sought to have innocent lives hang from the gallows only to see himself and his entire family hang by his own devices. It is often said, ‘you will reap what you sow’.
I’m not going to get into a debate about whether or not we can inflict harm on others by how we feel in our hearts or by what words we say to them or about them, or that we will suffer the same fate we wish upon others; there are plenty of people who believe that. What I am going to express is how the condition of our thoughts, hearts, and words can weigh heaving on our own souls.
If we knew and believed that our words have this much power, would we choose more carefully and more graciously?
I have suffered from intense deep hurt by leaders that I endeared as brothers, fathers, and grandfathers. My flesh would quickly boil and my thoughts and intentions run to the easiest way of release through quick tempered words and wishful thoughts of revenge. I often will write down my thoughts to get them out, only to read them later and see how ugly my heart was in the matter. There’s nothing wrong with being angry, it’s how we respond that matters. Our response might matter to those we are angry at, or to those who hear our four letter words, but ultimately it’s us who get hurt. We heap more hurt upon our already grieving souls.
We also end up hurting those who are closest to us. Have you ever walked into a room and you just knew that your husband had a bad day at work? Have you ever witnessed your teen daughter storm through the door afterschool and you knew she had a terrible run in with another girl? When their hasty angry words come flying out of their mouths to leave them alone, they grumble, and even refuse to come to dinner to enjoy family fellowship, it shows that our inward anger can indeed manifest and hurt those around us. Then the manifestation of anger brings guilt and shame that we allowed those feelings to hurt our loved ones.
God is not a God of guilt, but it doesn’t change the fact that we experience those feelings. He doesn’t want us to suffer, he wants us to be joyful. Taking the time to examine the motives of our feelings and re-establishing the place of grace in our hearts can help us see things differently and in turn see our own spiritual growth as a result.
Have you ever considered praying a blessing for your enemies? I know, it’s not the first though that comes to mind. Think about it this way, your enemy is in bondage and as you pray for a blessing of release for them, they will in turn release their victims. It’s a natural progression of spiritual freedom. When we condemn our enemies it tightens the grip of bondage on them, furthering their manifestations of harm onto their victims. Recall back to the story of Egypt when with each plague Moses proclaimed from God, the harder the heart of Pharaoh became and thus the harder he pushed the Hebrew victims. Through the death angel, he finally released God’s people, but it did not release Pharaoh.
Death has had it’s grip on humanity for many years, then death gripped Christ and he freely surrendered. He willingly took on death, then resurrected a Victor! We are joint heirs with Christ in that resurrection and can claim that victory as ours. We get to walk in the victory of the finished work. This finished work brought grace to mankind to release us from the clutches of death so we could live and live abundantly. Why crawl back into the grave , dig up a dead body, and carry it around with us? Maybe someone else is stumbling around with their own dead weighing them down and grasping at straws through anger while splattering their sorrows all over us. Maybe this is why they are behaving in an abusive manner. They’re struggling.
Do we think we are God’s favorites that can petition him for favoritism in our spats? Do you not know that Lady Justice is blind and plays no favorites while balancing her scales? We are all God’s children (even though we don’t always behave like we are), and we are all equally loved. He doesn’t issue swift legalistic swats to some while hiding others behaviors under the rug at our request. We do not have the knowledge of how God works out his justice, but I do know that although He does correct us, he has perfect justice through the blood of Christ. His justice is always refining, restorative, and resurrected.
Can we be mindful of this when we whisper words of prayer? Can we be thankful that God, in his infinite grace, has not judged us the way we seek his judgment for others?
It may be that your adversary has not halted when you confronted them face to face, nor when confronted with his/her peers and the violation is one that is punishable by God’s ordained law of the land. If it is what you need to do in order to be free from abuse and to spare others from abuse, then do what you need to. But do so with a pondering heart, considering the things I have said here. Swift revenge does not heal deep embedded wounds, only grace can do that.
May we all be more mindful before we seek God’s power to reconcile a matter and consider how our words can bring freedom to all or bondage to all. Nevertheless, God loves us all equally and will continue to perform his miraculous work in our lives to bring us deeper into the fullness of Christ. There is power in prayer, be wise in how you tap into it.
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