Illuminating Words

As a child, I was taught the phrase, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” As an adult, I laugh at this. Whoever crafted that sentence must have been fully aware that words can hurt far more than physical ailments. The Bible seemingly agrees, as Proverbs 12:18 states, “the words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

Words are some of the most impactful influencers in our world. Words have power.

As we introduced the idea of accountability in the previous article, we established that it’s biblical.

Look at Hebrews 4. Verse 12 reveals that, “the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

The Bible is a marvelous book. Not only does it reveal the beliefs of Christian faith but it also engages with our very souls. Here it’s likened to a sharpened sword—a weapon with the ability to inflict damage. In this verse, however, we see a second use. Yes, a knife can be used as an instrument of destruction, but in the hands of a surgeon, a sharpened tool can be used to bring healing.

Regardless of how it’s used, the Bible changes people. The power of the Word of God is unmistakable: it holds believers accountable. It informs us of the will of God and how we can become sanctified. In the next verse in Hebrews, we discover how this happens:

 “Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.”

Hebrews 4:13

The Word of the Lord illuminates our actions. While the Bible does not reveal everything about the universe, the author of Hebrews suggest that it reveals us. The Bible exposes our humanity.

Before the Lord, everything is laid bare leaving us, well . . .  naked. It impossible to read this and not think of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. After eating the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, they became aware their nakedness and fled to the shadows to hide from God. But the Lord sees everything, and Adam and Eve were ultimately held accountable.

Yet the Word of the Lord doesn’t exist to merely judge us when we do wrong. God’s words create. His voice brought the entire universe into existence. While human words are too often meaningless, God’s words are active and alive; they move with action. They serve as a guide for our lives, inspiring us to something greater. In John 6:68, when Peter declared to Jesus that there was none greater, he asks, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

There are plenty of words in our world, but the Word of the Lord is life.

Embracing accountability isn’t about relying on hollow words. It’s about more than what is said. True accountability means living in the illumination of the God’s Word.