Words Matter

Words Matter

IN JANUARY 2021 American news hit world headlines: a violent crowd of rioters stormed the Capitol building in Washington. The President was subsequently impeached for allegedly inciting a riot. The Senate chaplain had said that “Words matter” and that “the power of life and death is in the tongue”. The Power of the Tongue Words do indeed matter! With words we can humiliate, insult, embarrass, malign, discourage; or we can uplift, encourage and build up. The wise man said that there is ‘a time to keep silence, and a time to speak’ (Ecclesiastes 3:7). Keeping silent is not always the wisest approach, as silence is not neutral and can be misinterpreted, as either approval or disapproval. So there is a ‘time to speak’. But the speech itself needs to be wholesome. The Apostle James warned: No human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly

Different Points of View

Different Points of View

IT’S GOOD TO BE able to see other people’s points of view. If we all did this more often there would be more understanding and less confrontation in the world. People with strong opinions can be particularly bad at seeing different points of view. They can be intolerant of those who disagree with them. Perhaps, deep down, this is because they are afraid of having their beliefs challenged. Some of the most opinionated people you’ll meet are religious people. And as it happens, religious people can be some of the most intolerant. You only need to think of the brutalities of the Church Inquisitions over the last few centuries, or the so-called Islamic State in recent years. Reacting against the intolerance and bigotry that’s undoubtedly characterised many churches in the past, many modern Christians make a point of being nonconfrontational and inclusive—to the extent that it’s common to hear phrases

The Glory of Israel

The Glory of Israel

ALTHOUGH HIS PEOPLE were so frequently disobedient and unfaithful, God was supremely patient with them. As the prophet Isaiah reminded them: “I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people, who walk in a way that is not good, according to their own thoughts” (Isaiah 65:2). Some suggest that because of Israel’s unfaithfulness, which culminated in them rejecting and killing God’s own Son, He has disowned the nation of Israel. This is not what the Bible says. For example this is what the angel Gabriel told Mary: “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favour with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give him the throne of his father David. And he