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WORDS THAT WOUND
The passages below are taken from Max Lucado’s book “No Wonder They Call Him The Saviour,” published in 1998.
“Father, forgive them” Luke 23:34.
The dialogue that Friday morning was bitter.
From the onlookers, “Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God!”
From the religious leaders, “He saved others but he can’t save himself.”
From the soldiers, “If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself”
Bitter words. Acidic with sarcasm. Hateful. Irreverent. Wasn’t it enough that he was being crucified? Wasn’t it enough that he was being shamed as a criminal? Were the nails insufficient? Was the crown of thorns too soft? Had the flogging been too short?
For some, apparently so.
Peter, a writer not normally given to using many descriptive verbs, says that the passers-by “hurled” insults at the crucified Christ. They didn’t just yell or speak or scream. They “hurled” verbal stones. They had every intention of hurting and bruising. “We’ve broken the body, now let’s break the spirit!” So they strung their bows with self-righteousness and launched stinging arrows of pure poison.
Of all the scenes around the cross, this one angers me the most. What kind of people, I ask myself; would mock a dying man? Who would be so base as to pour the salt of scorn upon open wounds? How low and perverted to sneer at one who is laced with pain. Who would make fun of a person who is seated in an electric chair? Or who would point and laugh at a criminal who has a hangman’s noose around his neck?
You can be sure that Satan and his demons were the cause of such filth.
And then the criminal on cross number two throws his punch.
“Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!”
The words thrown that day were meant to wound. And there is nothing more painful than words meant to hurt. That’s why James called the tongue a fire. Its burns are every bit as destructive and disastrous as those of a blowtorch.
But I’m not telling you anything new. No doubt you’ve had your share of words that wound. You’ve felt the sting of a well-aimed gibe. Maybe you’re still feeling it. Someone you love or respect slams you to the floor with a slur or slip of the tongue. And there you lie, wounded and bleeding. Perhaps the words were intended to hurt you, perhaps not; but that doesn’t matter. The wound is deep. The injuries are internal. Broken heart, wounded pride, bruised feelings.
Or maybe your wound is old. Though the arrow was extracted long ago, the arrowhead is still lodged... hidden under your skin. The old pain flares unpredictably and decisively, reminding you of harsh words yet unforgiven.
If you have suffered or are suffering because of someone else’s words, you’ll be glad to know that there is a balm for this laceration. Meditate on these words from 1 Peter 2:23.
When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
Did you see what Jesus did not do? He did not retaliate. He did not bite back. He did not say, “I’ll get you!” “Come on up here and say that to my face!” “Just wait until after the resurrection, buddy!” No, these statements were not found on Christ’s lips.
Did you see what Jesus did do? He “entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Or said more simply, he left the judging to God. He did not take on the task of seeking revenge. He demanded no apology. He hired no bounty hunters and sent out no posse. He, to the astounding contrary, spoke on their defense. “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
Yes, the dialogue that Friday morning was bitter. The verbal stones were meant to sting. How Jesus, with a body wracked with pain, eyes blinded by his own blood, and lungs yearning for air, could speak on behalf of some heartless thugs is beyond my comprehension. Never, never have I seen such love. If ever a person deserved a shot at revenge, Jesus did. But he didn’t take it. Instead he died for them. How could he do it? I don’t know. But I do know that all of a sudden my wounds seem very painless. My grudges and hard feelings are suddenly childish.
Sometimes I wonder if we don’t see Christ’s love as much in the people He tolerated as in the pain He endured.
Amazing Grace. (23-26)
Proverbs 18:21 says---" Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit" With our own mouths, we direct our way into the path of Life or the path of Death.
3:4-12 says---“Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by
fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.
Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things. See how great a forest a little fire kindles!
And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind.
But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.
With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.
Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.
Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening?
Can a fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.”
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