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Peter Chung

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Tongue (Not The Pen) Is Mightier Than The Sword

"Reckless words pierce like a sword,
but the tongue of the wise brings healing."
- Proverbs 12:19

It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword... that you can do more to influence a man and move him with the written word than you can with the sword, which compels him to action only out of fear of affecting his livelihood.

With the right words, you can move people and persuade them that taking the course of action that you are suggesting is, in fact, a better way. With words, you can touch others at a deeper level and affect their emotions, their thoughts, and even their way of life.

But with the power and potential of words also comes much responsibility.

The same words that can be used to gently persuade and help others' well-being can also be used to manipulate and tear others down to get our own way. Words can be used to wound people in places that no sword can penetrate. A sword will cut through flesh, but words can cut through the heart. We've all felt the cutting of the heart that happens when people who we consider trustworthy say things that should never be said. Though they do not harm us physically, you can feel the pain even from a distance miles away.

With the same mouth, you have the ability to speak either blessings or curses. At first glance, you may think this point is trivial, but how many times have you been reluctant or insecure because of what someone else said about you? How many times have you been discouraged because others did not believe in you? How many of us don't feel good about ourselves because of the hurtful things that someone said to us?

Words have the power to either bless you or curse you.

The hurtful words continue to haunt us and every time we hear them or remember them, it cuts us again, like a fresh wound, and it never heals properly. And these wounds will continue to hurt us and we will feel victimized until the power of those words are broken.

And I'll tell you that without the grace of God, it is impossible.

There is still hope. Though we can't change how others have affected us and though we can't change how others use and manipulate words, we can resolve to use our words to bring healing and encouragement.

It is human nature to lash back and return the treatment we receive from others. And if we don't lash back at the person who offended us, we often lash back at those close to us, that we hold dear to our hearts. We don't mean to hurt them, but we end up hurting them because we ourselves are hurting.

And again, without the grace of God, without specifically asking God to give you this grace to forgive and not letting those words affect you, you will not be able to stop the cycle of receiving and lashing out in pain.

"He who seeks good finds goodwill,
but evil comes to him who searches for it."
- Proverbs 11:27
When we resolve to take the high road and use our words to build others up, even though we are unfairly treated, we will be blessed and find favor with both God and men. It may not happen immediately and it may not happen when we want it and when it's most convenient for us, but God promises that "he who seeks good finds goodwill." When we search for evil, or seek to "return the favor," God promises that evil will come back to you.

God's way is hard because it is unnatural and goes against everything that you see in this world. But I can't imagine trying to live any other way. If we don't live according to God's way, then according to whose ways are we living? God is good, kind, loving, merciful, and gentle with us... Who are you listening to and what are they like? What becomes of their ways and their lifestyle? Please consider deeply whose advice you are listening to and what kinds of things will come of that advice.

- Peter

There were many themes and ideas presented here that can be developed further. If you'd like me to write more about something that sparked interest, please comment and let me know or email me privately. I hope this article has been helpful.