The Power of Words to Incite Violence or Healing

Red Letter Christians | 8/20/2019 | Abigail Storch
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We were milling around in the church, waiting for the wedding rehearsal to start, when my friend’s husband-to-be blithely joked about murdering my fiancé.

Of course, my friend’s husband-to-be didn’t know that my fiancé was undocumented when he regaled us with tales of shooting for game during his bachelor weekend — or when he mentioned, as an aside, that they didn’t shoot any “illegals” this time, but maybe next time.

Face - Nothing - Texas - Scene - People

My face burned, but I said nothing. We were in Texas, after all. I didn’t want to make a scene, policing other people’s language on their home turf. Later that night, I confided in the maid of honor. Should we tell the bride what her soon-to-be husband had said? We decided not to; she was too nervous. The next day, as the pair vowed to love and cherish one another, the groom’s words from the day before played over and over in my mind.

How could some words carry the promise of faithfulness until death, and others be so flippant? How do we determine which words are binding?

Years - Argument - Words - Act - Violence

In recent years, some have challenged the argument that speaking certain words can be an act of violence. Language is not violence, they say. It may incite people to violent action, but it is not itself violence. I used to agree. But as I reflect on scripture in the aftermath of the El Paso shootings, I’m not so sure.

In Genesis, God brings the world into being by his very words. Let there be light, God says, and there was light. God’s friendship with the Hebrew people is enacted by his oath to Abraham, the words of promise that his hand would guide Abraham’s descendants.

Word - Mouth

“My word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Red Letter Christians
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