Words have much more impact than we often think. Words can be weapons and words can get us in trouble and cause regret and pain. I remember one morning in Germany in our apartment hearing my daughter tell her sister that she hated her. They were both just 4-5 years old. I also remember sitting my daughter down and sternly telling her to be careful with her words! If you use them as weapons to hurt someone, she needed to understand that she would suffer consequences for inflicting the pain (less from me as from her sister over time). We can’t take words back. We can ask forgiveness, but the pain will always linger there.
I think Solomon said it best:
Ecclesiastes 5:2 (ESV)
Be not rash with your mouth, nor let your heart be hasty to utter a word before God, for God is in heaven and you are on earth. Therefore let your words be few.
In Mark 6:23 from yesterday, Herod makes an oath to Salome, “and he promised her with an oath, ‘Whatever you ask I will give you, up to half my kingdom.'” This is more than a lesson on simply doing what you promise to do. Herod made a rash statement in the moment!
Mark 6:24-26 (TNIV)
24 She went out and said to her mother, “What shall I ask for?” “The head of John the Baptist,” she answered. 25 At once the girl hurried in to the king with the request: “I want you to give me right now the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 The king was greatly distressed, but because of his oaths and his dinner guests, he did not want to refuse her.
Now Herod had to follow through and suffer the consequences of his words to Salome. He was greatly distressed!
How many times have you blurted out rash statements? If we aren’t careful, they come out faster than we can even think! And how many times have we suffered for them? At least….if you utter a rash statement, take ownership of the pain when it is inflicted!
We often make these statements in the heat of the moment, either in the heat of anger or the heat of lust or passion…….sometimes in the heat of pride.
In the heat of anger: “I hate you!”, “You will never amount to anything!”, “Let’s just get divorced!”
In the heat of lust or passion: “I love you” (when in fact you don’t, you only want sex), “I’ll do anything for you!”
In the heat of pride: telling a lie in order to make yourself something you’re not.
Herod opened a door when he vowed to give Salome anything she wanted. She opened that door and he had to walk right through. He didn’t want to kill John the Baptist. But he now had to so that he wouldn’t be embarrassed. He now had to live with his words. The pressure is strong to utter words we don’t mean….and the pressure is stronger when we walk through that door we opened. Be determined to do what is right, no matter how embarrassing or painful it may be….no matter what the cost seems….because the cost in the end will be greater!
James 1:19-21 (TNIV)
19 My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because our anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
Be slow to speak, especially when in the heat of the moment…….don’t open those doors and you won’t have to walk through them later when you really don’t want to!