by David Lemmons
Once a month I get a free digital book on the basis of owning Logos Bible Software and being aware of the free offer. Sometimes they are of such little value to me that I don’t bother downloading them. This month, the free book is about communication in marriage. In this new book I read an interesting illustration which stresses the importance of good communication in marriage. The book is witten by Jay and Laura Laffoon, entitled: He Said. She Said: Eight Powerful Phrases that Will Strengthen Your Marriage. We will get to the illustration shortly. Unfortunately neither writer has yet discovered New Testament Christianity. For that reason, I could not give an unqualified endorsement of the book, but their golf illustration is worthy of remembering.
Before we consider the illustration, let’s be assured that the Bible has much to say about the great POWER of words!
If there is one chapter in Scripture that most could connect in their own minds to the proper use of words, that come from our “tongues,” it would likely be James 3. Consider James 3:5-6 Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! (6) And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
In the Old Testament we have the especially practical and helpful section of Wisdom Literature. How much we can learn from these inspired proverbs and psalms that can bless our lives! Greatly stressed in this most helpful section of our Bibles is the value of proper communication.
Proverbs 18:21… Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof. Sutcliffe comments thus on this verse: “A good conversation is as ointment poured forth; while, on the contrary, sins in the heart lie concealed, but the tongue discloses them, and sets the world on fire; yea the fire of hell. The life of the body and the life of the soul lie therefore in the power of the tongue; and a man shall eat the fruit of it, whether it be bitter or sweet.” In the most undeniably critical use of words, the spread of the gospel, surely the wise man’s words in this verse ought to be cause for great rejoicing and intense effort. We have a saving message which must be communicated with words. Likewise, in the most critical human relationship (marriage), there are vitally serious consequences/blessings for the words used or not used.
Proverbs 13:3 He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction. One of the classic commentaries on Proverbs is written by Charles Bridges. On page 182 of his book, he writes of this proverb: “Keep thine heart (Proverbs 4.23). This guards the citadel. Keep thy mouth. This sets a watch at the gates. If they be well guarded, the city is safe. Leave them unprotected—Thus was Babylon taken.” Even such a mighty city as Babylon needed protecting walls with gates that were kept. The words that sometimes rush out UNKEPT lead to similar destruction in homes and marriages.
Psalms 139:4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. The omniscience of God needs to be understood and appreciated by every soul. What if more husbands and wives would memorize this text, let it impact their lives, and respect its true meaning? I am totally convinced there would be fewer problems that inevitably come from poor communication in the home.
Now for the illustration. How might golf help your marriage? It seems that Jay Laffoon was talking with the golf pro at the course he uses about a fellow golf enthusiast. Jay was complimenting his friend, Scott Davis, regarding the size of the divots he produces. Evidently this is evidence of properly coming down on the golf ball. When a large clump of sod goes flying, you have struck the ball well.
The golf pro, Billy Watchtorn, began to talk about the crucial importance of replacing the divot immediately. If it is properly replaced, and done quickly, the ground will “heal” in as little as 24 hours. However, if one waits an hour to replace it, it can take up to a week for the ground to get back like it was. If a day passes before attempt is made to put it back into the ground, it becomes impossible for the root system to reattach.
Can you make your own application to the use of words spoken to your husband/wife? How many WORD “divots” do you allow to pass the point of being able to be restored? Let’s appreciate the words of Ephesians 4.26!