“…Let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word.”
Day Thirteen of Lent: Wednesday of the Second Week of Lent – Jeremiah 18
“…Let us destroy him by his own tongue; let us carefully note his every word” -Jer 18:18.
Today’s Lenten Reflection
“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Do you remember that old saying from the playground? As soon as you grew beyond hopscotch and dodgeball however, you probably realized quickly that words do actually have power – real power. So much so in fact that the Bible states: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” (Prov 18:21). Words spoken or even withheld can cause real damage in a person’s life, and the Bible lays this out in no uncertain terms.
In today’s reading in Jeremiah, we see an angry throng looking to take Jeremiah’s truthful words and use them against him. This is perhaps the worst way words can be weaponized – taking things out of context and twisting them to suit another’s agenda. This method happens to be destructive to people on both sides of the equation. The innocent party is humiliated and slandered while the guilty party awaits God’s judgement.
Another example of words having power in the Gospel was when the disciples (and their mother) argued over who would have the best position in Heaven. The words were spoken too quickly and without deeper thought which ultimately got them into trouble by not understanding the weight of what they were saying and asking for. They found out soon enough however when they too were made to suffer for being followers of Christ. At that time though, they were so caught up in a war of words that they were incapable of hearing and understanding the warnings of Jesus Christ.
Yes, words do matter. Think of it this way: Jesus Christ Himself was the “Word” made flesh! Words are of course especially powerful – supernaturally powerful – when they are divinely inspired. But they can also be powerful in a negative way. Thus, we are wise to heed the warnings of the Bible and use our words carefully.
Day 13 Lenten Meditation
There are three important things to remember before you speak: Is what I am about to speak true? Kind? Necessary? How often do we say things that even if are true, are not very kind or necessary? While this rule of thumb may feel like a high standard to keep, it is more than a worthwhile code of conduct to live by. The next time you think about saying something that could potentially hurt or affect someone, take a minute to think if the words will be true, kind and necessary. In essence, ask yourself: What would Jesus do? Would He be okay with me saying this? This type of examination of conscience will help us to stay rooted in the will of God.
Father, we come to You today knowing that far too often we focus on temporal words rather than Your Word. May this be our newfound starting point today. Help us to guard our mouths and our actions, using them only to edify and lift others higher. During times of persecution and sorrow, give us the grace to remain in gratitude with our words; to hear Your Truth and profess Your goodness. It is You, Lord, we cling to for strength and vindication. In Your good and holy Name we pray, Amen.
Today’s suggested Penance
Serve someone in love today by lifting them with every word you speak.
“The closer we are to the Shepherd, the safer we are from the wolves” –Jarred Wilson.