For whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 1 Peter 3:10-11
Sticks and stones can break my bones, but names will never hurt me.
That was the old expression our parents taught us when they wanted us to know we shouldn’t let wagging tongues and idle gossip bother us. Generally this is good, sound advice. But it’s advice, which doesn’t always work.
For example, last week, according to a story carried by FOX-TV, a St. Louis girl, her name was Megan, committed suicide. The calling of “names” hurt her, hurt her so badly she took her life. Although Megan’s parents strictly monitored her Internet use, when a cute boy asked to be her “pen pal”, Megan’s mom and dad reluctantly agreed. Although Megan and this young man never met, they corresponded regularly. Indeed, everything was fine until the boy turned on Megan saying he had been told she wasn’t nice to her friends, and he didn’t think they should correspond any longer. Other notes followed, the kind of notes that would devastate any 13-year-old, but were especially destructive to Megan who was under a doctor’s care for depression.
Megan took her own life not knowing there was no cute-looking boy writing to her. She died not knowing her “pen pal” had been made up by adults who wanted to see if Megan would say bad things about their daughter.
No crime was committed. No law was broken, but Megan will never celebrate her 14th birthday.
I’m sure when Peter wrote the text for today’s devotion, he wasn’t thinking of Megan. Even so, Peter’s words ring true as good advice for us all. If we want to show our love for the blessed life the Savior has given us, we need to keep our tongue from evil. Similarly, if Christ’s forgiven and redeemed want others to see “good days”, we ought to stop our lips from speaking deceit.
Peter knew that one of the jobs God has given us is to build each other up and avoid tearing each other down, to speak words of encouragement, and do all we can to avoid giving voice to unfair criticism. When we watch our tongues, we can be sure the world will take notice. When we don’t, we can be equally positive the Savior will be judged. So, my dear friends, let’s watch our tongues. It’s not an easy thing to do, but it is the right thing for the Savior’s people to do as they, by the Holy Spirit’s power, try to lead a holy life.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You always spoke the truth and You did so in a loving way. May my words always be those of a faithful servant. May the things I say strengthen those who are weak and give courage to those who are afraid. In Your Name I pray it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries