LIFE-GIVING WORDS GIVE LIFE!
She stood in the presence of her accusers knowing, as surely as she knew the sun would rise and pour its morning glory into her small home, that soon she would be dead— her sin found out, her fate sealed. Men of all ages had gathered stones even as they dragged the woman to the center of a crowd to face her death. Testing the heft of the stones they intended to launch at their target, they placed the woman in front of the Teacher. She fell to her knees and covered her face. Her shame was so palpable she could taste it. She readied herself for the first blow.
Then, He bent down. Instead of picking up a stone to throw, He wrote in the dirt. What He wrote remains a mystery to us today, but to the woman caught in adultery and to her accusers they were life-giving words. Words that freed her from her shame and ultimately from her death. “Again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.” (John 8:8).
Even though we will not know what He wrote until we reach heaven, we do know that after giving each man a chance to cast the first stone, the crowd dispersed one by one, from oldest to youngest. Then finally, the woman stood face-to-face, alone, with her Redeemer. She was alive!
It is highly unlikely that we will ever be placed in such a life or death situation, however we do have the power to give life by offering life-giving words to another. At some point in life, we will know someone caught in a compromising situation similar to the woman Jesus encountered. We certainly know those “who have no hope,” (1 Thess 4:13) because they are without Christ. Or maybe we cross paths with a sister in the Lord who simply needs to be reminded of Truth. Whatever the situation, each person will need to hear words of life. Will we be prepared to speak those words of life into the lives of others? We can be as long as we are connected to God, remembering our heavenly zip-code.1 Cor 15: 44b-45 If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
As wives and mothers, it can be so easy to slip into living in our “natural” bodies… housework to maintain, schedules to keep, meals to plan and prepare. But our calling involves much more. As daughters of the living God, we have Jesus who set the example of being “life-giving.” His words are our source of life and all goodness. He reflects pure virtue. And where there is virtue there is life.
So as the end of the year quickly approaches, and we reflect upon the past 10 months, we need to ask ourselves if we have been intentional about touching lives by the words we speak. Most likely we can all say, “At times, yes.”
But what happens when things don’t go the way we have planned? 1 Peter 3:9 reminds us to “not return evil for evil or insult for insult but choose to give a blessing instead, that we might be a blessing.” Peter goes on to quote Psalm 34 which says, “the man who desires life…that he may see good keeps his lips from deceit and his tongue from evil.” Keeping our tongue from evil could be the difference between speaking words of exasperation or sarcasm towards our children, “Like, right now!” instead of using a more life-giving approach such as, “Let’s see how quickly we can get this done.” Peter reminds us, “we must turn from evil, seek peace and pursue it.” Yes, it is especially when things don’t go our way that we need to remember that we have it in our power through the Holy Spirit to be life-givers, speakers of life; costing us not much more than a little time and a lot of self-control.
Because we are in Christ, 2 Corinthians 2:14 says that our life in Him is a sweet aroma and it affects all those we meet. We can choose to be intentional when opportunities come up for us to speak. And when those opportunities happen — we need to speak life.
As we close, let’s revisit the woman in our opening thoughts. While we do not know what Jesus wrote, we do know that Jesus’ words transformed her life for all of eternity… words reflecting who she was at her core, someone worthy of His love and created in His image. We all have within us the ability to speak life. So with the holiday season rapidly approaching, take a moment to reflect. Ask God, Who could use words of life spoken to them right now?…. Then take the time – write a note, make that call, visit over a cup of coffee, change that tone – when given the choice — speak LIFE!