Week 24 Thursday

Just Words

Today’s scripture selection: Proverbs 4

Key verse: Proverbs 4:24

“Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk from your lips.”

It’s interesting that in the middle of a long section extolling the value of wisdom – the writer of Proverbs inserts a little advice about what comes out of our mouths, or doesn’t as the case may be.

He isn’t just talking about how we talk.  He isn’t just a kindly old spinster grandmother advising us to make sure we don’t use swear words.  He isn’t warning that if we do we might end up getting our mouths washed out with soap.

No, this is good, sound advice.

It’s about how what we say can heal or hurt; build or destroy.  It’s about how we can, with a few well selected syllables, be instruments of grace or weapons of malice.

Words are such simple, powerful things.

Think back…

  • To when you were a child on the playground and you were crushed by something a so-called friend said
  • To when you were a little older and you felt on the “outside” because of some gossip or slander
  • To when you were still older and having to defend yourself against some accusation or lie
  • To those times when you felt misunderstood; misquoted; or just plain hurt by the quick, clever turn of phrase that someone leveled at you when you were vulnerable

Think back to the times when either you experienced these painful consequences of hurtful words – or when you were a party to doing it to someone else.

Words are powerful things.  So use them wisely – and kindly.

Prayer: Lord, may what I speak only help not hurt.  AMEN.

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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