Lord, You are beautiful and true. Open my heart to hear You and my eyes to see what You desire to show me today.
How does Paul use his words?
When it comes to words, Paul was an artist. He knew exactly what to say, how to say it, and when to say it. His opening statement to the Sanhedrin--the governing body of the Jews in Jerusalem--is direct and to the point: he lets them know that as far as he is aware, he has committed no crime (1). He judges the audience and plays to the crowd, knowing that talking of resurrection (6) will provoke division within the council, setting Sadducees against Pharisees, and causing them to fight amongst themselves (8).
But, even with his verbal talents, Paul is not perfect. After being slapped for his honesty (2), he curses the high priest (3), although he is swift to apologize for his outburst (5).
Words matter. With them we can encourage or enrage. We can build up or tear down. We can speak truth or profanity. And we can offer honest apology.
In James 3 the tongue's relationship to the body is likened to that of a ship and its rudder (3:4): where our words lead us, our hearts and minds will likely follow.
How do you use your words? Practice being positive in your speech for the rest of the day.
Remind me that the power of life and death are in my words, and help me to speak life.