Tuesday, March 12, 2002
They had just gotten the call to go to Afghanistan. Warriors from America's 101st Airborne were, with relatively short notice, on a plane transporting them to the unpredictable and still dangerous military environment in post-Taliban Afghanistan. The news report on their assignment was describing their long flight to their mission - and the moment in their flight when the atmosphere suddenly got more intense. It was late in their journey when their ammunition was handed out to them. One man described the sobering reality of holding his ammunition in his hand. Here's what he said, "Once you pull that trigger, there's no way to get that round back."
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A WORD WITH YOU today about "Bullets You Can't Get Back."
A bullet is so easy to fire. A bullet can do so much damage. A bullet can't be taken back, even if it's a verbal bullet. Maybe especially if it's a verbal bullet.
Proverbs 12:18, our word for today from the Word of God, actually likens our words to weapons. Since there were no bullets when it was written, God uses a sword to describe how destructive our words can be. Here's what He says. "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing." Now, we all know that's true - we've all felt the wounding power of someone's reckless words.
Then why do we do the same thing - often to people we actually care about? Our angry, or reckless, or critical words are bullets - and it's all too easy to pull that trigger. In fact, it takes the help of God and our personal discipline to keep from firing off a round of wounding words. But once you pull that trigger, there's no way to get that round back. Long after you've forgotten what you said, that person is still feeling the hurt of it, still hearing it over and over again in their heart. The words take a moment; the wounds can last for years.
I guess the beginning of disarming this weapon called our tongue is just to realize the power your words have! According to Proverbs 18:21, "The tongue has the power of life and death!" By what you say, you can literally make someone feel more alive or more dead inside. Maybe you need to stand back and recognize the tremendous effect your rash words are having on people around you, on people you love, on people you work with, on people at church, on anyone who's close to you.
Then, it's time to consciously, consistently start controlling your words - specifically making this a major Lordship issue with you and Jesus. Repenting is always a good place to start changing. And our verbal sins need to be repented of before our Lord. If we don't recognize the seriousness of what we're doing with our words, then we'll just keep firing randomly and wounding people in our line of fire. David actually gives us a specific prayer that we can pray every day, maybe throughout the day - it might be worth memorizing. It's Psalm 141:3 - "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." This is not a battle you can win alone - but it's a battle your Lord is very anxious to help you win.
We've all wounded enough people with our verbal bullets. It's time to learn to hold our fire, because once you pull the trigger, there's no way to get that round back.