I’ve been reflecting on this for a long time. God’s Word can cause us pain if we’re sensitive to it, but that’s not the end of the story for the believer.
“Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty: For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.” (Job 5:17-18)
Our own words certainly have the power to cause pain, or, to make use of the Biblical language, to make sore and to wound. They don’t have God’s healing power. We could never rightly make the claim that we make sore and bind up, that we wound and our hands make whole. God pricks the hearts of His people and heals the same hearts through salvation. Notice Peter’s use of God’s Word to accomplish this.
“Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.” (Acts 2:37-41)
I’ve noticed a disturbing tendency to be very harsh and cutting with extra-Biblical words in writings by Christians who appear to be concerned about the salvation of others or over Bible interpretation. Some of that writing has been distressingly angry, all salt and no grace.
“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6)
I’m not innocent of this. Don’t think I’m pointing the finger; I’m looking in the mirror.
“Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few.” (Ecclesiastes 5:2)
Using harsh language of our own in the name of correction, even if sincere, should be avoided. Our words will wound and not make whole, make sore and not bind up. God’s Word has the power to do what the Christian should want to see accomplished, the saving of souls. Applicable Scriptures can be presented, and even an explanation, without being mean. God doesn’t need our help to convict or straighten out whom he will. His Word is enough. Let Him be harsh, and let us present His words with meekness and self-control.
“Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:23)
“In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;” (2 Timothy 2:25)
“To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” (Titus 3:2)
“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:” (1 Peter 3:15)
This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t state unpleasant facts, such as that God predestinated His people to salvation. Such a thing is in the Bible and we can declare it meekly.
“Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
We can never go wrong in simply telling someone what the Bible says on any given subject, even if it directly applies, and even if it offends. I’d rather someone be offended because of a Bible quote than something I just made up. I’ve been called over-sensitive for taking this stance. I presently believe that the Bible not only supports my position on this matter, but commands it.
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18)
Finally, from the Words of Christ while he was on earth in the form of a servant to show us exactly how to behave as servants of God, we read:
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matthew 11:29)