Proverbs 12:18; 15:4
Landmine: noun. a n explosive mine laid on or just under the surface of the ground.
There is a region in the Horn of Africa called Somaliland, which at one time was labeled as the most incomparably despairing place to ever exist. Food was scarce and limited to rotten foods. Disease, starvation, and dehydration took many lives. Most homes were utterly destroyed, leaving the residents to sleep without any kind of shelter. Rotting animal carcasses lined the streets alongside the rubble of what once were businesses and homes. There were no schools. No hospitals. No recreational activities. No money. Some people were so desperate to escape their misery that they would trade their few, meager belongings for one dose of addictive drugs sold by the military forces instead of buying food for their starving families. It was a land without morals, means, or hope.
A brutal territorial war lasting over two decades was the main culprit of such disaster. It stripped this land’s people of basic resources, freedom to truly live, and all feeling of safety. But probably the most horrible remnant of the war would have to be the leftover landmines. You see, in a desperate attempt for victory, an estimated 2 million landmines were planted in and around Somaliland. It’s a radical way to ensure that you kill many enemies - or at least leave them maimed.
But the problem with landmines is that long after a war ends and the combatants go home, the explosives still remain - armed and dangerous for years and years. They may be hidden under the surface, but they are still very much reactive. And to make matters worse, they are no respecters of persons. They cannot distinguish between friend or foe; enemy from innocent. The survivors are still fearing for their lives - never knowing whether one day they will take a wrong step and unintentionally trigger one of the explosives, never to return home.
The lasting impact of landmines are much like the lasting impact of our words. Think about it. There are countless moments in your life that were made memorable by the words spoken to you. Decisions you have made and attitudes you have worn throughout your life have often been the direct result of a word of encouragement that convinced you that you could succeed, or a sour statement that killed your confidence and left you scarred. Both the wounds and the strength given by words can last for years. Sometimes it is something that is always at the forefront of the mind, or maybe hidden just under the surface - but still very actively influencing our lives.
The scripture says that we can choose to use our words either as weapons to injure, or with wisdom to heal. Proverbs 18:21 tells us that the power to give life and death each rest within your comments to those around you - you can steal someone’s self-worth by hurling an insult, or build their joy with a genuine compliment. What you say has immeasurable impact on the way
others will, in effect, perceive themselves, your personality, and God’s character - and that perception can often last for a lifetime. And remember that once you start throwing out your words, it is impossible to know how or whom those words will influence. What you say will always reach farther than the direct receptor, and will carry on longer than you initially anticipate. Use wisdom and kindness in everything you say so that no matter where your words land, you know they are bringing restoration and not destruction.
Pray: “God, let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight (Psalms 19:14). Let no corrupting words come out of my mouth, but only such as is good for building up, that it may give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).”