The world caught its breath in horror recently when Farzana Parveen, 25, of Pakistan, was stoned to death by family members outside a courthouse because she married the man she loved instead of the man her family had selected for her.
Truthfully, a lot of us use word rocks to murder every day.
Consider parents who tell a child, “You’re a brat!” “I’m so sick and tired of you!” “You’ll never amount to anything.” “You’re stupid!” Word rocks that kill. Most incarcerated individuals, including serial killers, were battered by word rocks as children.
Consider a spouse who tells the other, “I hate you!” “I wish I had never married you!” “How did I get stuck with you?” Word rocks. Most marriages that end in divorce started tearing apart from the weight of word rocks that were never forgiven, never forgotten.
School children are guilty of murdering with word rocks at school. Most of them learned the battering techniques they use at school from being battered themselves at home. “You’re ugly!” “I don’t want to be your friend.” “You’re weird.” Word rocks that scar for life and sometimes murder victims by pushing them toward suicide, drug use, or crime.
No wonder the Bible has so many verses commanding us to use words as tools, not weapons. Proverbs 18:21 declares that “Death and Life are in the power of the tongue.” Jesus warned that out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. “By your words you will be justified and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:37. He added, “Not that what goes into the mouth defiles a man, but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a person.”
While most word rocks are cruel and unkind, not all word rocks are deadly. Jesus hates profanity. As our example, He explained, “The words that I speak to you are spirit and they are life.” (John 6:63). Our words should reflect Jesus’ Holy Spirit and direct listeners toward joy, abundance, and eternal life.
The Bible advises, “Put perverse lips far from you.” It reminds us that, “The mouth of the righteous is a well of life.” It proclaims, “He who restrains his lips is wise.”
Convicted by reading Moody Bible books – The Sugar Creek Gang – as a teen, I quit using profanity, even though my parents were atheists and swore profusely. I wasn’t a Christian and couldn’t even define the term, but I knew there was something different and admirable about the characters in those books. Now that I write Christian mystery-romance-suspense, I challenge myself to write believable characters in exciting settings full of adventure and romance – without using profanity or glorifying risky lifestyle choices like smoking, drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex. I don’t lob word rocks. They kill.
None of us can undo the tragic death of Farzana Parveen and her child. We can’t bring them back to life. But all of us can protect the ones we love in our life by remembering not to sling word rocks.
God intends us to use words to plant trees of life, not to kill and destroy.