Kind words are like honey—
sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.
Proverbs 16:24 [NLT]
Some years ago, my wife and I were asked by a student at a Bible School in Latvia to pray for her friend whose husband, whilst going to church himself, had banned her from going and was also continually denigrating her, he also encouraged their young daughter to denigrate her as well. We were also told that when people from the church asked the husband about his wife, he told them various stories, but no one really tried to check with her. Just the other day we heard a father telling his young son that he did not like him and then a wife telling her husband that she always seemed to be doing wrong these days according to him.
Scripture tells us much about the power of words and the power of the tongue “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 [NKJV] and then in James 3:8-10 [NLT] “but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God. And so blessing and cursing come pouring out of the same mouth. Surely, my brothers and sisters, this is not right!”
The times that we live in have brought many stresses into our daily lives. Families having to juggle working from home and all that brings, restrictions on movement, then, for some, home schooling as well, and suddenly the extra time gained from the lack of commuting has completely disappeared. Frustrations appear alongside of friction, and this has the tendency in some to be shown in the way we communicate, whether through the words that we use, or our body language to those nearest/dearest to us – the one whom we covenanted to protect, to cherish, to love that is our spouse and then following through to any children that may be in the home! Some homes start to become places of fear and depression rather than a place of safety, love, joy and laughter. Jesus gives us all the warning about the spoken word as recorded in Matthew 12:36-37 [ESV] “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Whilst both men and women can be at fault the evidence seems to be more heavily against men. We are in great need of genuine leadership from men in Church and when out in the world. Our standard in the Church being vastly different to that within the world – Jesus.
Church members need to be encouraged, in these times particularly but not coddled. We need to challenge to bring about change to show men and women their roles in life as designed by God and that we are equal in His sight. Probably the greatest challenge being for men to take up their role as spiritual leader in their home. Where they see that:-
- daily Bible reading and prayer as the right thing to do ahead of sport and time with male friends
- family men are praised
- marriages and families are built ahead of careers
- humility is considered an asset and not a liability
- God is praised/worshipped more than the favourite team or sportsman
- God is pursued more than careers
We need to confront men lovingly through our weekly message, men’s groups, etc and also the youth and build discipleship through mentoring and starting a ‘buddy’ system. There is a critical need for spiritual leadership in the home, which is man’s God given role.
In many ways the lockdowns that we are currently experiencing have given us a great opportunity to give this message as people are often more comfortable being challenged through digital media.
“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22 [ESV]
“Your kindness will reward you, but your cruelty will destroy you.” Proverbs 11:17 [NLT]