Faith 10/24/19

You Are What You Read!

By Pastor Ron Buxton

The childhood rhyme “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a horrible lie! Words do matter. In fact, the misuse of words can totally destroy entire societies, and human history is the record of that grim reality.

Frankly, the problem of mankind has always been about words. Just ask Adam and Eve. You see, words are the clothing of ideas–and when those ideas attempt to define ultimate reality–wrong ideas can lead to an absolute despair. This–I know personally. As a troubled youth, I began to question the meaning of life, and certain books that I read took me down a very dark tunnel. Words do matter. And, as a result, you can end up with more than broken bones!

Shakespeare wrote: “Life is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Not exactly words that inspire hope for any bright future! Ernest Hemingway added to that depressing idea, by writing: “Life is just a dirty trick, a short journey from nothingness to nothingness. There is no remedy for anything in life. Man’s destiny in the universe is like a colony of ants on a burning log!” Again—to a very impressionable young man—those are NOT words to live by, but rather, words to die by. Allow me to quote one more statement by Atheist Richard Dawkins. His books have sold millions of copies, and he wrote: “In a universe of electrons and selfish genes [with] blind physical forces…some people are going to get hurt, other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find rhyme or reason for it, nor any justice. The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but pitiless indifference.” Is it any surprise that folks that read those ideas might never get out of that dark philosophical tunnel that I found myself in?

Here’s the deal. When a person either is ignorant of—or rebellious against– the reality of God, there is very little hope for them. Life’s meaning is only a dogma of despair. How could it not be? All the deep questions like origin, meaning, morality, and destiny are unanswerable—in the absence of a creator known as God.

Words matter. In fact, it is no accident that Jesus Christ was called the “Word” in the first chapter of John’s Gospel. Triumphantly, Christ Himself embodies all the answers to life’s meaning! God’s communication to us—through the “Word”—has given us an eternal hope and future like nothing else could! And it can repair what words have broken despite what that nursery rhyme says!

May God’s Word impart the same hope and meaning in your lives! God knows. You might need the same remedy that I found. You are what you read!