I read just this week about a few loose words that got the person into major trouble. This happened to be on the TWITTER website (where you send small textual updates, called 'tweets', to your friends). As the person is also from Northern Ireland I had double sympathy for the guy involved.
The Guardian newspaper reported it in this way…
"Paul Chambers has felt the full force of state persecution, simply for sending a tweet.
The 27-year-old worked for a car parts company in Yorkshire. He and a woman from Northern Ireland started to follow each other on Twitter. He liked her tweets and she liked his and boy met girl in a London pub. They got on as well in person as they did in cyberspace. To the delight of their followers, Paul announced he would be flying from Robin Hood airport in Doncaster to Northern Ireland to meet her for a date.
In January, he saw a newsflash that snow had closed the airport. "C**p! Robin Hood Airport is closed," he tweeted to his friends. "You've got a week. otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!"
You know the difference between making a joke and announcing a murder, I'm sure. Apparently the forces of law and order do not.
A plain-clothes detective from South Yorkshire Police arrived at Chambers's work. Instead of quietly pointing out that it was best not to joke about blowing up airports, he arrested him under anti-terrorist legislation. A posse of four more anti-terrorist officers was waiting in reception. Instead of displaying a little common sense and letting the matter rest, the CPS dug up an obscure section of the 2003 Communications Act, which makes it an offence to send a "menacing message" over a public telecommunications network.
The judge gave Chambers a criminal record and ordered him to pay £1,000 in costs and fines.
After his managers at the car parts business heard the police call him a "terrorist", they fired him. He moved to Northern Ireland to be close to his girlfriend and found a job working for a council.
Last week, he told his employers that his appeal would be heard this Friday and his name would be in the papers. They heard the words "bomb" and "airport" and fired him too. Because of a joke, he has a criminal record and lost two jobs."
Unlike in the example with Paul above, it got me thinking about how harmful, hurtful and even dangerous some of my words may have been over the years.
Older readers may remember a famous poster during the Second World War which read "Someone talked!". I see now that this has been copied on many sites to read "Someone tweeted!", I guess due to some of the recent slip-ups from a few celebrities using Twitter. Obviously as a reminder, in both cases, to watch what you say and who you say it to!
The Bible is full of warnings about our words too…
But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the likeness of God; from the same mouth come both blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be this way. (James 3:8-10)
Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speaking deceit. (Psalm 34:13)
I'm not sure if it is just getting older, but I have found myself saying things out loud that I would never have done so in the past.
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man's religion is worthless. (James 1:26)
A famous quote of Abraham Lincoln also comes to mind…
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt"!
However, this side of eternity no man will be able to be in total control of what he says, or indeed, what he writes (James 3:8).
And yet it is by words that we can come to saving grace in the Lord Jesus Christ…
if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; (Rom 10:9)
It was Peter who correctly pointed out that only Jesus had the words of eternal life (John 6:68). The words of Jesus were perfect then, and still are today…
Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. (Rev 3:20)
Human words can harm…
…but only Heavenly words can heal
Human words can bring shame…
…but only Heavenly words can bring salvation
I will leave you this month with the hymn-writer's words about the 'Word' of God (John 1:1)…
You are the King of Glory
You are the Prince of Peace
You are the Lord of heaven and earth
You're the Son of righteousness
Angels bow down before You
They worship and adore You
For You have the words of eternal life
You are Jesus Christ the Lord
(All quotations are from the NASB)
Are you SURE that you have your place booked in Heaven? Read this if you're not!