Words: the building blocks of life

Psalm 26; 40; 58; 61-62; 64

These Psalms show the extremes that David faced…from saying that he was blameless in Psalm 26 to confessing that he was drowning in sin in Psalm 40.

But reading Psalm 64 got me thinking about the importance of the words we choose to use.  In it, words are compared to sharpened arrows.  Isn’t that so true?

3 They sharpen their tongues like swords
and aim their words like deadly arrows.

4 They shoot from ambush at the innocent man;
they shoot at him suddenly, without fear.

5 They encourage each other in evil plans,
they talk about hiding their snares;
they say, “Who will see them [a] ?”

6 They plot injustice and say,
“We have devised a perfect plan!”
Surely the mind and heart of man are cunning.

My daughter told me the other day that she thinks I should cancel my newspaper subscription because all it does is make me angry.  She’s right.  Page after page of bad news is depressing, especially when the writers of those stories use their words as sharp arrows designed to wound anyone who disagrees with their opinions.

Whatever happened to reasonable discourse?  It seems that very few of my generation learned how to reason for themselves what they think about a certain topic, much less learn how to adequately convey their opinions along with well-thought-out reasons for believing the way they do.

This failing of our public and private schools is highly evident in the political sector, as even newspapers are realizing that those who are electable are not necessarily the best suited for the job.  A large swath of political leaders who have publicly come out against Arizona’s immigration law — 21  pages long — have now admitted to never having read it in the first place!  One of the first rules of rhetoric is to define your terms.  How on earth can a person reasonably discuss a piece of legislation that he or she has not read?

Yet this practice is rampant in state legislatures and in Washington D.C. Elected representatives and senators task their AIDES with the job of reading through the cumbersome legislation…some of which, if printed in its entirety and stacked, would reach 2.5 feet tall (such as the tax code!)  I suspect that if elected representatives were required to actually READ a bill before debating and voting on it, rather than going on the word of their aides who WERE NOT elected, the practice of tacking on additional unrelated legislation and “padding” would quickly fall by the wayside.

I do join in the 10 days of prayer leading up to the day of Pentecost…and I pray fervently for all the leaders of our country.  We have vast problems to solve…but we also have a majority (although silent) in this country who put their trust in the LORD, not in the government.  And we all lift up our prayers for healing for our nation and our world, and for the Lord to show us what to do…and to show us when we need to stand aside and let Him display his glorious works.  There are many skeptics out in our country today who don’t know God, much less Jesus.  We are broken, Lord.  We confess we have been silent too long.  We have allowed the government to become our idol and have put our trust in our bank accounts rather than in you.  We have turned our backs on the poor, assuming that the government would take care of them.  We throw away food that many people in this world would love to eat and pay farmers NOT to produce food.  We treat each other as enemies and do not love one another; Republicans tear down Democrats and Democrats vilify Republicans.  Please forgive our animosity, Lord, and create in us a new spirit.  Sweep this nation with Your presence.  Make yourself known, Father!

And please help me use words for good and for building up life…not for tearing down.

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