Using the Word to Kill?

Many years ago I shocked myself with a foolish use of a deadly weapon!  My friend, Frank, dropped off a pistol at my church office that I had asked to use for some target practice. After he left, I took the firearm in my hand, raised it to eye level and pointed upwards towards the ceiling of my office. Mistake #1 – I did not check to see if it was loaded. Impulsively, I pulled the trigger and imagine my shock when the gun went off! I handled a deadly weapon carelessly – assuming that Frank, who was an experienced gun owner, wouldn’t transport the pistol without making sure it was unloaded. I have never picked up another gun without being certain about whether it is loaded and ready to fire. Thankfully, that foolish choice resulted in nothing more serious than a small hole in the sheetrock and my own regret.

God has put a powerful thing in our care – His Word and Truth! The Word is described as a Sword, an offensive weapon given to us for our protection! “Take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17, NIV) The modern equivalent  to the ‘sword’ would be pistol, hence, my opening illustration. God’s Word protects us against the assault of evil. Correctly used, His Word puts the demonic to flight.  But, when used unwisely or carelessly, the Word can be deadly, condemning and judging without hope of redemption!

Some Christians seem to take delight in pulling out their Bible and shooting down a person who is struggling in the grip of some sinful habit. Instead of using God’s Truth to heal; they abuse it as a deadly weapon. Paul tells us that the Lord “has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.” (2 Corinthians 3:6, NIV)  Using the Scripture in a rather indiscriminate way only to judge the actions of others, only to point out their failures and sins is like aiming a gun and pulling the trigger.  Do you know those who seem to delight when another sinner is shot down by the Truth?  What a mistaken idea of our function in the world.

The Psalmist lauds the power of the Word to heal: “You were in serious trouble, but you prayed to the Lord, and he rescued you. By the power of his own word, he healed you and saved you from destruction.” (Psalm 107:19-20, CEV) Isn’t that remarkable? God’s Word is a healing word. That is about much more than healing for our physical ills. He speaks to bring wholeness into our lives, to draw us back from danger, to guide us away from destruction. Sometimes that process is painful. Changing the metaphor, we learn that the Word of God cuts deeply, like a surgeon’s scalpel that wounds for the purpose of healing! “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12, NIV) The Word will cut away those attitudes and ideas that are diseased and death-producing when used skillfully.

Are showing proper respect for the power of the Word?
Are you armed with the Truth, defended by God’s Word against the power of evil?
Have you given yourself to study so that you are a skilled user of the Sword of the Spirit?

Here is a word from the Word. “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15, NIV)


Abba, teach me of the power of Your Word.
As I take the Truth into my life,
let it become my protection
from lies, from deception, from temptation.

Give me skill to use the Word to heal.
May I always ‘’speak the Truth, in love,”
with the hope of redemption and life,
not to judge and to kill hope.

In Jesus’ Name. Amen

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