(Mark 5: 35-43) 35 While he was still talking, some people came from the leader’s house and told him, “Your daughter is dead. Why bother the Teacher any more?” 36 Jesus overheard what they were talking about and said to the leader, “Don’t listen to them; just trust me.” 37-40 He permitted no one to go in with him except Peter, James, and John. They entered the leader’s house and pushed their way through the gossips looking for a story and neighbors bringing in casseroles. Jesus was abrupt: “Why all this busybody grief and gossip? This child isn’t dead; she’s sleeping.” Provoked to sarcasm, they told him he didn’t know what he was talking about. 40-43 But when he had sent them all out, he took the child’s father and mother, along with his companions, and entered the child’s room. He clasped the girl’s hand and said, “Talitha koum,” which means, “Little girl, get up.” At that, she was up and walking around! This girl was twelve years of age. They, of course, were all beside themselves with joy. He gave them strict orders that no one was to know what had taken place in that room.
Did you ever hear that the strongest muscle in the human body is the tongue? Most of us have heard so at some point, and though this little “fun fact” ins’t exactly true, the tongue is pretty fascinating when you think about it. It can twist, it can bend, it can cup, and it’s often used playfully to blow raspberries and to make silly faces. Interestingly enough, it isn’t just one muscle — it’s a network of several muscles, giving it the ability to bend and flex in many different ways, enabling us to speak, eat, drink, and swallow. What is most amazing though, is that the tongue NEVER TIRES! Think about that for a minute. The one thing that is probably the most difficult for us to control and tame is also the one part of our bodies that never grows weary. You know, much of what happens in the physical realm of our lives mirrors what is going on spiritually, so it does make sense that our tongues can get totally out of control when we don’t monitor it properly. It’s like an annoying toy with brand new batteries (yeah, I was thinking of the Energizer Bunny too!) — eventually you’d have to stop being lazy and actually make the effort to reach over and physically turn that thing off!
There is power in what we say. The Bible tells us that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” (Proverbs 18:21) Our words verbalize what we are already thinking and feeling. That is why we so often find ourselves with a “foot” in our mouths — because eventually what we truly believe comes spewing out, and it can be hurtful or embarrassing much of the time. My grandmother used to tell me that there is always a little truth to every joke…you know, when you say something a that’s little mean and you quickly bandage it with a “just kidding” or a wink. Be honest, if you didn’t think it…even just for a moment…it could never come out of your mouth. Luke 6:45 says, “A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart.” Your words may not always be the truth, but they’re definitely your truth…reflecting what you think, what you feel, and who you are inside.
The bottom line is that we are Christians, striving to live our lives as a reflection of Jesus, and as such we have to monitor what we say very closely. When Jairus’ daughter died, all of the people surrounding his home began to chatter and gossip and speak death into Jairus’ ears. Their words were a reflection of their measures of faith. Jesus never once said that the girl was dead and that he would raise her from such. Instead, He just spoke words of life. What we speak into the lives of others can be life-changing. A simple compliment can turn someone’s entire day around for the better…life. A cutting remark can take root and hang on for a lifetime…death. We must speak life, as much and as often as we possibly can! We each have a powerful tool that never gets tired, so let’s use it the way our Lord intended us to— by confessing our sins and praying, by singing praises, by telling others of His love and faithfulness, and by encouraging one another with truth and love.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (Ephesians 4:29)
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I don’t ever want to be the Debbie Downer, busybody gossip standing outside with a casserole. Instead, help me to bridle my tongue when it gets to flapping, so that I can instead be a Peter, a James, or a John — full of faith and life-giving words. I want to be on the inside with You, Lord, where healing and life take place. Amen.