Blessings are upon the head of the just: but violence covereth the mouth of the wicked.
What does this mean?
Those who do justly receive blessing from God. That makes sense. What about, “violence covers the mouth of the wicked?”
Does this mean that the wicked will have their mouth stopped violently?
Does this mean that the speech of the wicked is violence?
I’m not sure what the author meant by this, but all of these ideas are true.
There are scriptures in the New Testament about the importance of taming our tongue, because we can do a lot of damage with it.
For example, we can read this passage in James 3:
1 My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation.
2 For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.
3 Behold, we put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.
4 Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.
5 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.
We know that Jesus teaches against all forms of violence including violent words. During His sermon on the mount, Jesus said that those who murder are in danger of the judgment, and this includes our words. Calling someone a rude name for example is on the same spectrum of sin as murder.
Jesus also teaches us that “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.”
Jesus also teaches that we should “make clean the inside of the cup so that the outside is clean also.”
So, it makes sense what James is saying. If we can bridle our tongue, then we are nearing perfection because we could not do so unless we had control over our hearts—and it’s these inner-man changes that are pleasing to Jesus—and He will perform it through the Holy Spirit.
I know how hard it is to tame the tongue. This has been one of my greatest struggles, and I have known that the issue goes deeper than the words I say. There are heart issues at work, and some of them have seemed like a tangled mess that’s hard to sort out. Things like fear, pride, jealousy, resentment, and unforgiveness can greatly corrupt the way we look at things and the way we respond to people around us.
Jesus is patient with us and He knows our frame. He will work on us so that we can learn to abstain from ungodly speech. However, we need to turn to Him in prayer often concerning this. We should never justify the harmful things we say, and we should certainly never blame others. We are responsible for what we do regardless of what someone did to us first.
If we are faithful to confess our sins and seek Jesus so that our heart issues are dealt with, then He is faithful to forgive us and lead us on a path of transformation.
We want to be those who “confess Jesus.” I don’t want my confession to be a one-time confession, but an on-going transformation that changes my heart so that the words of my mouth are without sin. I also want the ability to grow in speaking the words of God.
His words provide us with a defense that can work in many ways. Sometimes His words anger our enemies and exposes who they are, and when faced with the truth they destroy themselves by resisting and by the hatred they spew out onto those who speak God’s words.
Sometimes His words turn our enemies into our friends—and that should be the goal. I think if our hearts are cleansed, we will get more of the latter than the former. We will learn not to “cast our pearls before swine” and we will focus on those who need to hear words of light that encourage healing. In so doing, the enemy we destroy is not “flesh and blood, but principalities and powers of darkness.”
However, some of the “principalities and powers of darkness” include man-made systems and “kings” of all sorts—to which many men pledge their allegiance. Speaking the words of God against these will provoke many to violence and this cannot be helped. However, we should strive to remember the patience of the Lord and know that our weapons are of Spirit, and it is in the spirit we fight.
I know that those who are faithful to Jesus have a helmet of salvation, so we do not fear the violence of the wicked. We trust in the resurrection and the coming of our Lord who will avenge us of our adversaries.
Jesus also gives authority to His servants, and this is a kind of blessing on our head as well. I want more healing of heart. That is the blessing of the Lord that I seek most of all.
I know that the wicked speak violently and I also know that they will be destroyed with violence. I also want more ability to speak the words of God, and I know that I “cannot serve two masters.”
So, I will keep seeking the change of heart that I need so that I can speak His words faithfully—and His words are violence to the wicked well enough without me adding my own guile to them—and in-fact, my own guile prevents me from fighting the real enemy in the realms of “principalities and powers of darkness.” My own guile turns the words of God into the words of the enemy—and I do not want to “kill you thinking I do God’s service.”
Maybe I am not seeing this correctly, but if not, I trust that the Lord will reveal it. He will lead us all to better understanding according to His perfect timing and perfect ways.