Words Are Not Mere Words, You Know – 2 Timothy 2
By Mary Freeman
Words can nourish, encourage, inspire, be grace filled and offer life. Or words can discourage, diminish, judge, tear down, offer death. There is power behind words.
2 Timothy 14 says “not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers.” I think of times where in my zeal to get truth across I have used a hammer instead of gentleness and compassion. Doing that just closes hearts and ears and turns others away, it does not invite in.
Paul says in 2 Timothy:
“Stay clear of pious talk that is only talk. Words are not mere words, you know. If they’re not backed by a godly life, they accumulate as poison in the soul” (Peterson’s The Message.)
This reminds me of Jesus’ rebuke to the Pharisees, where they spouted off “the rules” but ignored the heart of the message. As we go about speaking truth, are we doing it out of an overflow of what we have experienced? The love, forgiveness, grace, compassion, and gentleness we are experiencing from the lover of our souls? Can we offer life because we are experiencing life? I want to offer life, not a list of rules. That means I need to be asking God to help me speak words of life, and when I don’t feel them toward others to explore with God why I don’t. Yes, I still need to be kind when I don’t feel kind, but I want to get to the root of why I don’t. I want real heart and life change, not just the appearance of it.
Verses 23-25 say:
“Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness.”
Paul says in verse 26:
“You never know how or when God might sober them up with a change of heart and a turning to the truth, enabling them to escape the devil’s trap, where they are caught and held captive, forced to run his errands. (The Message)
God invites us into relationship with Him. He offers forgiveness, freedom, healing and restoration. It’s so simple and so complicated at the same time. I am a mess a lot of the time, but a mess God is healing and restoring. I have seen and felt real change. I long for others to experience the love, forgiveness, and grace that are offered minute by minute by the Creator of all. I want others to experience the acceptance they already have if they would just have eyes to see and receive the gift that is offered. I think an invitation to “come taste and see that the LORD is good” (Psalm 34:8) is so much more inviting than a list of rules and a hammer, wouldn’t you agree?
As we live and work out our own salvation, we rub up against humanity in all its forms, in all it quirks and obsessions. We come across people we really like and some we can hardly tolerate. But we can offer to all inviting, grace-filled and healing words.
Words are not mere words, you know.
Mary has always kept a journal, but what began as a woman’s own journey of God-discovery in her personal journaling, has spawned a ministry of reconciliation and healing for women. A few years ago, this mom of three realized a desire to dig deeper into her own heart-wounds and invite God into her hurt. The artist in her began experimenting with layering images, patterns and text into journal pages that captured words and feelings in a more coherent and impacting way. As Mary began to share her experience with her friends, opportunities to teach the technique of visual journaling began to open. Mary now leads workshops at her local church and in her home studio. She says, “God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to His eyes…” Find her at asplendidadventure.blogspot.com and asplendidadventure.etsy.com.