July 13, Word Ambush

Today’s reading: Psalms 61-65

“Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear” - Psalm 64:2-4.

David was a mighty warrior, but in this prayer, he prayed that God would hide him from those who spoke evil. He had bravely faced Goliath and embarked on other military engagements, but when it came to gossip, slander and criticism, David asked God to hide him rather than have to face those who uttered vicious and harmful words. This provides two lessons. The first is it shows the power of words and their ability to harm — they are like deadly arrows. Don’t underestimate their power to cause you harm, even to depress you. So don’t go out of your way to hear things that others have said about you that are negative. The second is the power of your words. If you have felt the sting of others’ vitriol, then don’t be the source of that same pain for others. Speak words that build up and encourage, or don’t say anything at all. Do you expose yourself to the harmful words of others toward you? Why do you listen? Why do you seek to find them out? Are you guilty of launching deadly arrows towards others? Are you ambushing the innocent with your criticism and gossip?