An Ambush of Words

February 11th, 2009

Focus Text: Proverbs 12: 6 (NLT)

6 The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush,
      but the words of the godly save lives.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Words are funny things.  They reveal the very depths of not only the information we are attempting to communicate, but also the attitudes and intentions of our hearts.  They are easily comprehensible and absolutely crucial for certain things in life.  Directions to the bathroom.  The desire for a job application.  The request of a father for his daughter’s hand in marriage.  All of these require words.

Words are the bricks of creation . . . the very building blocks of our existence.  Consider that it was by just a few words strung together in simple, majestic sentences that God fashioned the foundations of the universe.  Let there be light!  That’s easy for us to say now, but these words spoken from the correct lips instantly produced a burning inferno of fire and light that still illuminates our galaxy.  Just a few words, but what an enormous effect.

We may not be flinging huge balls of gas out into the heavens (well, some of us may be, but that’s a totally different subject), but our words do have the power of creation.  Attraction.  Jealousy.  Anger.  Joy.  A word spoken in love or rage or kindness or jest can instantly change the state of one’s emotions.  For that matter, words can instantaneously change a life.

Will you marry me?  

I don’t love you anymore!  

You got the job!

I’m sorry, but we couldn’t save him.

Such little syllables.  Such mammoth impact.

This passage speaks to this truth with vivid imagery: “The words of the wicked are like a murderous ambush . . .”  I can’t think of ambushes without thinking about Harrison Ford in the movie Clear and Present Danger.  On a diplomatic mission abroad, his convoy is ambushed by the enemy and Jack (Ford’s character) is pinned down between two buildings with no cover.  His enemies have the higher ground and he and his friends are sitting ducks.

An ambush, you see, plays upon the weak position of one’s enemy.  It’s a surprise attack that exploits their weaknesses to destroy them.  That’s what “wicked words” do.  They attack in the midst of someone’s pain . . . in their moment of greatest vulnerability. You’re not good enough- that’s why he dumped you!  You’re too fat to be loved.  Any moron knows that!  You are a huge disappointment to me.

Words can take people by surprise and cut them down to depths of despair.  They literally ambush the lives of people everyday.  Sometimes, syllables sink deeper than bullets.

But if the dark side of words is terrible, the flip side of them strikes back with greater force . . . “but the words of the godly save lives.”  I’m reminded of the words that CPR trainees are taught to speak in an emergency.  Call 911!  Can you breathe?  Help is on the way. These words may be the lifeline given to someone in their darkest moment . . . they may be the factor that helps save their life.

In spiritual terms, just imagine the power we have with our words to heal and help others in their moment of vulnerability . . . to “ambush” them with love and kindness when they least expect it.  The opportunities are infinite and they present themselves daily.  

The choice is ours: ambush or give life?


~ by johndriver on February 11, 2009.

One Response to “An Ambush of Words”

  1. HAHAHA that last part was nice.
    i love this passage. Its going to make people think, including me.
    consider this, you either tear people down or bring them up. But dont forget how you do it. Im talking about if you really mean it. Im taking a speech class and Ive learned that theres more to it than saying words. Its also HOW you say it. If you talk to build them up but your facial and voice arent the same, Id say thats worse than actually tearing them down.
    Im just saying when you talk make sure you show it as well.
    Its not easy always having the attitude to build people up, considering that its our sinful nature to not do so. I hate it and the world would be a better place without it.

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