Killing with words…

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Matthew 12:33 Jesus said to the Pharisees accusing him, “Either make the tree good, and its fruit good; or make the tree bad, and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. 34 You brood of vipers! How can you speak good things, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure.”

Jesus is calling out the Pharisees (Jewish religious leaders) for their twisted opposition to Jesus’ demonstration of the power of the Kingdom of God. People are being healed, are being set free from demons, and the Pharisees are accusing him of doing these things by the power of Satan. Wow. Here’s an important verse to consider for today:

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure.

Words are powerful things, having the capacity to build up or tear down. The guy whose picture you see is named Simon Cowell. He used to be one of the judges on a TV show called American Idol – which was, at one time, the most popular TV show in America. Part of the hook of the show was watching Simon (basically) verbally abuse contestants with biting criticism and personally insulting remarks. Now, don’t get me wrong. His feedback was often right on target. However…

It’s often not what you say, but how you say it that matters most.

I’ve been a fan of the show for a number of years and I can say that I liked the show much better after Simon left. Later judges offered accurate criticism like Simon, but did so in a way that was life-giving, not life-taking.

I’m guessing you know some people like Simon. They are people who use words as weapons. They don’t criticize – they berate, they insult, they belittle. They may be your boss at work, your parents or spouse at home, or anyplace really. Look again at what Jesus said about such people…

For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 The good person brings good things out of a good treasure, and the evil person brings evil things out of an evil treasure.

Here’s what I’ve learned about such people over the years – verbally abusive people. The destructive external voice (berating others) is also an internal voice (berating oneself). As bad as it is for those around such people, it’s far worse for the person him/herself. You may be a target from time to time in their presence, but they are a target 24/7. Why is that?

You see, there is a demonic dimension to this voice of accusation. It gets lodged in the heart and spews venom inside and outside the person. Read what the apostle Paul says in Ephesians chapter 6:

11 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

What this means is that the key to overcoming such persons is not confrontation, but prayer. There is a spiritual healing and deliverance that is needed to restore such persons from death to life. It’s principally a spiritual problem that requires a spiritual solution. Which leads me to some questions:

(1) Who do you know that uses words as weapons?

(2) If I were to ask people closest to you, would they name you as such a person?

(3) If so, how is that destructive voice tearing you down 24/7?

(4) Are you clear on where that voice comes from?

Heavenly Father, the enemy is clever, often using people to attack other people. Argument and logic are not the answer to this problem. Your healing and deliverance are required. Today we pray for all those who use words as weapons, understanding they are not only perpetrators, but victims as well. Send the power of your Spirit to set these persons free from the influence of the enemy. Give us grace to pray for them rather than fight them. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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