Daily Reflections

A War of Words

February 23, 2021 Erin Davis

Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. —James 4:11

Once sin entered the world, it didn’t take long for us to turn on each other. Within a single generation of Adam and Eve, their children were fighting. That particular dispute ended badly (Gen. 4:1–16). However, it didn’t start with physical violence but with a war of words: “Cain spoke to Abel his brother” (v. 8).

We may draw the line for sin at murder and feel smug we’ve never crossed it, but Jesus isn’t as impressed as we might hope. As we live as His ambassadors (2 Cor. 5:20), He commands us to avoid warring with words (Matt. 5:21–22).

There are times we all feel like our lives have become a gridiron. We yell at each other on social media and send passive-aggressive stares across the table. God chooses not to referee every fight between His children. Instead, He warns us to cut off the conflict where it begins—with our words.

You cannot choose how other people will behave or change another’s heart. But you can avoid Cain’s mistake by choosing to “not speak evil against one another.”

Make it Personal

How does talking about an offense give life to hurt, anger, or resentment? What should we do instead?