Strange how something from long ago drops into the mind. I must have been fifteen or sixteen years old. I’m now over seventy and a sermon by A.B. Clark slipped into my consciousness. Well, it was only snippets of what he said but it must have made an impression way back then.
His emphasis was on a most dangerous letter, the letter S.
It can turn word into sword, will into swill, lush into slush, nob into snob and in into sin.
If you took the time I’m sure you could conjure up more. The point I think he was making was how careful we must be with words and not allow our ‘S’ nature–meaning our sin disposition–corrupt what we present with our mouth.
The Bible tells us that by our words we will be either condemned or justified. We are also accountable for those ill chosen expressions which so glibly flow from our lips, especially when we are angry or resentful. No wonder James called the tongue a ‘fire’ and a ‘world of evil’ (James 3:6).
The old saying, ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but name will never hurt me’ is untrue. A broken bone can heal but a lacerated heart and mind may be poisoned and perverted forever. Relationships have split asunder by words being made swords aimed at cutting another to pieces.
Is it any wonder we need to ask the Lord to control, discipline and cleanse our ‘S’ nature?
Psalm 19 encourages us with these words: ‘By them (the words of God’s Law) a servant is warned; in keeping them there is great reward. But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from wilful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression. May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.’
Ray (always wrestling with the ‘S’ nature) Hawkins.