On November 19, 1863, Edward Everett, the former dean of Harvard, gave a two hour speech at the dedication of a piece of land in Pennsylvania. When his speech was over, they invited President Lincoln to offer a message as well. His speech was two minutes long, and became one of the most recognized speeches in American history known as the Gettysburg Address. He could have used this opportunity to gloat and talk big about the victory the North had just won over the South in the Civil War. Instead, he took the opportunity to try to heal the nation. The words he spoke are remembered because their purpose was to bridge the divide, to honor the fallen and to call the nation to a new birth of freedom.
In 2 Samuel, King Saul had been killed in battle and Israel was divided between those loyal to the house of Saul and those loyal to David. Saul’s son Ishbosheth had been ruling Israel while David ruled Judah. Once Ishbosheth was killed in a battle, David became king over all Israel. It had been 15 years since he had been anointed King over Israel. He had fled for his life and lived in the wilderness running from Saul all that time. Instead of disparaging Saul, David honored him with his words and deeds. Because David didn’t alienate those who had been loyal to Saul, he was able to unify the nation and rule for 33 years as Israel’s most famous king. David understood the power of his words and taught that to his son Solomon who became king next.
In Proverbs 12:18, Solomon wrote, “Reckless words are like the thrusts of a sword, cutting remarks meant to stab and to hurt. But the words of the wise soothe and heal” (TPT). Do your words cut and maim or soothe and heal? Do they bring people together or push them further apart? What about what you post on social media? It’s in our nature to use words to hurt others, especially those who disagree with us or have even been against us in the past. Paul reminded in Colossians 4:6 to always let our speech be full of grace. We have the choice each day with the words we use and how they’re used. We have a choice in what we put out on social media as well. Choose to let your speech, and posts, bring healing in an already divided world. Let them be filled with the love and kindness of Christ that will lead them to Him rather than to push them further away from Him. In the end, it’s eternity that matters.