Let me give a couple Biblical examples of the power of words to scatter darkness, and bring order to creation – from two very emotionally expressive people in the Bible:
(First example now; second one later this week!)
Here’s the scene: Nearly all of Israel has turned away from following God. The king (Ahab) is an evil king who openly worships false gods. He also endorses 450 prophets who follow Baal, a false god. So Elijah, the last remaining prophet of God, calls all the people of Israel to gather on Mount Carmel, along with all the prophets of Baal, to have a sort of “contest” to determine once and for all whose God is the true God. I’ll spoil the ending for you: God wins and Baal loses. But before that happens, Elijah sets the stage with a proclamation to the people:
“How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.” (1 Kings 18:21)
This proclamation sets the stage for what is to come. The people have been on the fence for a long time, claiming to be a nation that follows God, but messing around with false gods on the side. Elijah uses his words to draw the line in the sand, making it very clear exactly how foolish the peoples’ behavior has been.
My point here is not that Elijahs’ words had some great effect on the people hearing him. (In fact, they didn’t. The people just stared blankly at him like idiots and said nothing.) My point is that his words took a situation that was vague and unclear and transformed it so that it was crystal clear.
Application: Have you ever been in a situation where people refuse to acknowledge the elephant in the room? Maybe you grew up in an alcoholic home, but nobody was allowed to talk about alcoholism. Maybe you’ve been in a situation where you or others insist on pretending everything’s just fine even though everybody’s mad at everybody else. Maybe you have a friend who is engaged in some inappropriate or unhealthy behavior, but you’re afraid to say anything about it.
All of these are situations where the Images of God (us) are called to “speak the truth in love”, shaping the world through bold, courageous (and appropriately gentle) speech.