Giant Despair

A photo of a dead tree next to a live tree and the words to Proverbs 18:21 ESV, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
    and those who love it will eat its fruits."
by Beeda Speis for Peace in the Stillness

If you’ve ever read Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, you know how often the Pilgrims are led astray by the words of others. I just finished the section where Vain-Confidence told Christian and Hopeful that the path on the meadow side of the fence led to the Celestial Gate. Christian convinced Hopeful to cross over to that side of the fence, and long story short, they ended up in Doubting Castle, imprisoned by Giant Despair who beat them and withheld food and water. During their time there, Christain fell deeper and deeper into despair because it was his fault they were in that predicament.

Hopeful trusted the leadership of Christian. Christian didn’t take into consideration Hopeful’s misgivings about taking the easier path. The whole conversation ultimately led them to deep despair and possibly even death.

I know it’s an extreme situation (and a story in a book) but it came up in our Bible study last evening. What are some examples of things we do or say that can cause irreversible damage? Several examples were the words we speak. Just like we talked about on Wednesday (see Nails in the Fence), words can leave holes; they can do permanent damage. On the flip side, words can lift up and give life to someone who is struggling.

Bible Verse of the Day

Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
and those who love it will eat its fruits.
Proverbs 18:21 ESV


According to Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:
Death and life are in the power of the tongue,…. Of witnesses, according to the testimony they bear; of judges, according to the sentence they pass; of teachers, according to the doctrine they preach; of all men, who, by their well or ill speaking, bring death or life to themselves and others. Some, by their tongues, by the too free use of them, or falsehood they utter, are the cause of death to themselves and others; and some, by their silence, or by their prudent speech and prevalent intercession, secure or obtain life for themselves and others; yea, judgment at the last day will proceed according to a man’s words, “By thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned”, Matthew 12:37; the tongue is the instrument either of a great deal of good, or of a great deal of evil;
and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof; that delight to be talkative; that love to use the tongue, whether in a good or in a bad way, shall accordingly be recompensed; shall enjoy the advantages or disadvantages arising from it.


Father, we ask that You guide our speech today. Please give us the words to lift up and encourage those we meet today. Allow us the opportunities to help people who are facing times of despair. With everything going on in the world, we all need encouragement and inspiration. Show us how to give that to everyone we meet. Guide us to lead others to the hope that can only be found in Jesus. Allow others to see that hope in us.
Father, we continue in desperate prayer for the Ukrainians. Please stop the war, Father. Please bring peace to this troubled nation. Father, help them find a way in the darkness. Show them Your light. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.

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