To humans belong the plans of the heart,
but from the Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue.
A tool is more or less a device used to assist you in accomplishing your goal. A hammer helps you hammer in nails to build or hang something for example. A shovel helps dig a hole or move dirt or a number of other tasks. A tool, simply put, is a device that assists YOU and makes accomplishing your goal(s) easier and more practical.
A weapon, on the other hand, is used to attack and/or defend but is designed to inflict harm. Weapons are used in combat, violence against other people, or in some cases, simply in hunting.
Tools can absolutely be used as weapons. Hammers, shovels, crowbars, knives, and many other tools have been used violently against other people since the beginning of time. Cain used a rock to kill his brother Abel in Genesis 4. Something as simple and benign as a tool can easily be used as a weapon in the hands of a disturbed person. Something good, that helps you accomplish your goals and be more effective, can actually be used to hurt, maim, or even destroy others.
I say all this because at the end of the day, Scripture is a tool. God’s Word is a tool to help us understand the nature of God, the hopes and expectations of God for us as believers, and a way to better understand how we are to engage the world as disciple makers in an ever-changing word.
Here’s the real deal Holyfield: Scripture is also often used as a weapon.
To clarify, this isn’t something new to 2019. Jesus found the Pharisees using scripture as a weapon against the least of these, against those they saw as unclean, and of course against Jesus himself. There were constant conflicts with the Pharisees and people they disagreed with and they often used scripture as a weapon. Jesus continually needed to remind his contemporaries to stop using scripture as a weapon to marginalize, hurt, shame, ostracize, and wound others.
We do this also today, of course. If you look at our current social climate in the world, in our nation, and even in our communities, we can find plenty of cases of scripture being used as a weapon to destroy each other rather than a tool to help build each other up.
Herein lies the challenge: That popular scripture that can be used a weapon to tear someone down or hurt them or shame them can also be used to build them up, draw them closer to God and each other, and deepen their faith.
The root cause of why we are using the scripture becomes the deciding factor of how we use God’s words. Do we use them as retaliation or reconciliation? Do we use God’s words to make other’s feel God’s immense Grace, Love, and Mercy or do we use God’s words to make other people feel shame, brokenness, and disconnectedness from those same words?
Our scripture from Proverbs today reminds us that we can want what we want in our hearts but our words must be inspired for good if they are going to do God’s will. We have to break the cycle of desiring to pay back, “teaching” other people a lesson, or prove they are wrong and we are right. God’s word is always the true word and must only ever be used as a tool to grow others in faith and not a weapon to destroy hopes, beliefs, and faith of others. To do so is never God’s will.
May it be so,
Rev. Lou Ward
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