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An Open Tomb
by Mary Elder-Criss
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An Open Tomb
© Mary Elder-Criss

The laborers worked slowly under the hot sun. One man was responsible for mixing the cement, making sure it was of the proper consistency, while another carefully laid each brick in place. Little by little, they were building a wall that would stand up under pressure, and be an attractive, as well as functional piece of architecture. It requires time and effort to build something of worth.

In another part of town, the wrecking crew stood ready, waiting for the order to begin demolishing the old building. Once given the go ahead by the crew foreman, the operator swings the wrecking ball into place. With the simple shift of gears, we see it swing through the air, and smash into the building with such force that an immediate gaping hole appears within the foundation. Soon, little of the original structure is left but rubble, which the crew members begin carting away. It takes little time and effort to destroy something that was functional and served a purpose.

And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. James 3: 6-8

Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit; the poison of asps in under their lips; Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. Romans 3:13, 14

Last night while praying, I received the above vision. I saw a wall being slowly and carefully built, that would stand strong and would withstand the test of time. I then saw the wrecking crew demolishing all that was in its path, and the Lord spoke to me about the power of our tongues.

Just as the laborers in the hot sun, slowly and carefully building a wall, we too have that power over otherís lives. Our tongues can be used to build someone up, to encourage them in their Christian walks, to guide and direct others when hurting or lost. They can be used to edify the Lord, and to witness of His goodness. They can be used to praise and to worship. Our tongues can indeed, be powerful building tools.

However, our tongues can also be used for destruction. With just one carelessly worded comment, we can help destroy what someone else has spent time building. Each unkind comment uttered is just like another swipe by that wrecking ball, until pretty soon, there is nothing left but rubble to be carted off. What took someone a long time to build can quickly be brought down by anotherís careless remarks.

With our tongues we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. James 3:9,10

Not long ago, I read the passage in Romans that speaks of the throat as an open tomb. My immediate response was to wince, as I recognized faults of my own in that very Scripture. It suddenly seemed as if the rest of the page in the Bible laid open before me dissolved into the background, as that verse loomed larger and larger.

As a writer, I possess a mind that is often very quick witted. I also possess a tongue that is often quick to speak as well. This can be a blessing, or a curse, depending on the situation at hand. Being able to quickly speak up and defend my beliefs as a Christian, or to witness to an unbeliever of the goodness of Christ is a good thing. However, more often than I should, I also find myself being quick to criticize what I perceive to be weaknesses in others, as well. It seems that the majority of these destructive remarks is aimed not at strangers, or Christian brothers or sisters, but is instead, reserved for those I am closest to, mainly my family.

When my child spills a glass of milk all over the middle of the dinner table, I have an option. I can console them, and tell them that itís ok, not a big deal, and inform them that Iíve done it many a time as well, or I can react in a negative manner, and instead say sarcastically, ďOh, good job there ___________ !Ē

Reflecting upon the above scenario, we see that it would have taken the same amount of time to respond in a positive manner, as it would have in a negative one. Yet the outcome of the example would be much different. There may have still been a few sniffles over the spilled milk from the child in the first case, yet they would not feel as if they had committed some grievous crime. In the second instance, more than likely, you have a child that feels belittled and badly hurt by the careless comment made in an instantís notice.

An open tomb. When I think of a tomb, my immediate association is death and decay. That is the power that my tongue holds. I have the power to build up and help create a living monument to the Lord, or I have the power to destroy and cause death and dismay. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. It ought not to be so.

Today, Lord Jesus, I ask that you would help to tame my tongue, Lord. Help me to remember when I am tempted to respond in a negative manner, Lord, that my words are powerful, and can be used to either build up or destroy. Bridle my tongue Lord, and seal my lips whenever I am in danger of causing hurt or dismay. Help me Lord to use my words in a positive manner Lord, for the purpose of building your Kingdom. Today, Jesus, help me to bless instead of curse. To create instead of destroy. To praise instead of criticize. Help me Lord to remember that I have great power, and help me to use it wisely. In Your Holy Name I pray. Amen.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Donna J. Shepherd 01 Aug 2003
Very good. Calls my attention to the fact that I should 'watch my tongue.' Thanks for the reminder! - Donna J.
Debra L. McKeen Sparks 31 Jul 2003
touche' I heard your message loud and clear --And what a message indeed. This is great stuff.
Glenn Cook 31 Jul 2003
Talk about stepping on someones toes! Your vision brings another one of the final battle and our words being our weapons. Of course our words will be His Word, even just His Name. Very good and God bless you.
Jenny Smith 31 Jul 2003
Very convicting! It is so easy to say hurtful things and so hard to rebuild what we have destroyed! Thanks for reminding me to work slowly.
Deborah Porter  31 Jul 2003
Excellent message that we all probably need to hear from time to time. I really appreciated the example of the builders and demolition experts - that is exactly the choice we have. Well done. With love, Deb


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