“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. This phrase ironically contains ‘words’ supported by no truth. On the contrary, one heals from broken bones; but hurtful words are embedded deep within our spirit, our psyche, our personality, and one may never heal from them.
The psalm starts with “hear my voice, O God, in my complaint“. David lifts his words, his voice, up to the Lord. He is petitioning, for protection. He is the son after God’s own heart who is requesting refuge. God, the Father, like any father, would be heart-broken to see his own child being attacked by His own creation. The persecution amongst brothers has begun since the days of Cain and Abel, and every generation repeats itself. The wicked, instead of speaking words of love, grace and compassion, “whet their tongues like swords, who aim bitter words like arrows… they talk of laying snares secretly“. These words spring out of a fountain of injustice, of evil, “for the inward mind and heart of a man are deep“.
God retaliates with his own arrows – how? “They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them“. Their own lies, their own schemes, snares, swords, arrows, fall back on them. Those unreasonably accused; the righteous labelled incorrectly as the unrighteous; the liars – even sometimes Christians – carrying on the will of the enemy and not of the Father — are all going to be brought from darkness to light in God’s vengeance.
How often are we, too, accused not only by the enemies outside the church, but particularly those within? That we are the object of ridicule, of false accusations, of lies and deception, of grand-scheming manipulation, all of which had appeared under the pretence of holiness and edification at the outset? Yet, God pulls up the weeds; He destroys the leaven; He sees the seed that is sown amongst thorns; He unveils the sheep’s clothing; He sees all. We can only petition to Him for that protection, for that wisdom and discernment, to avoid the attack from the ambush. It is not our job to play the role of manipulator, of schemer, to ‘get back at them’. God is the only one able to do so – and to do it beautifully that enacts true justice that would allow all mankind to fear, that they would tell what God has brought about, and ponder what He has done.
The gospel is therefore as much truth as it is a revealer of liars; in the face of light, darkness must flee.