Updated: Mar 30, 2022
You would not use a hammer to repair a broken piece of your grandmother's heirloom china. It might be the hammer that accidently broke the china in the first place. If I need surgery, I will not be asking the guy named Slasher currently domiciled at the County Jail to do the operation, even though he has plenty of experience with sharp instruments. So, it is with the Word of God. In the hands of a skilled surgeon a sharp instrument is a scalpel that can save a life. In the hands of Slasher, it is a shank used to hurt others.
It is one thing for the Word of God to judge as Hebrews 4 says, but it is something entirely the opposite for a Christian to use the Word in a judgmental manner. Even when we do not intend judgment, carelessness can be costly. As an example, I have come to love and appreciate Romans 8:28 -"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." I know this verse to be true based on previous experience. This verse also helps me in present experience, and I know that it will be true in the future. But for someone who just lost their child to suicide, or an IED while serving their country, Romans 8:28 may not in the moment be the verse of choice in trying to bring someone comfort.
Throwing scripture at those that are hurting can cause even more hurt. I know that some may argue if this is my view of the Word then I don't believe in the power of the Word to transform the heart. They would be wrong. I do believe in the power of the Word. Psalm 46 saved my life in 2011 when I thought my family would be better off without me and suicide was my thought day and night. What I propose is simply the reality that the proper use of powerful tools is absolutely essential. Headlines recently told the story of a 13-year-old boy allowed to get behind the wheel of a car. The tragedy that resulted was the death of nine people.
2 Timothy 2:15 tells us, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." Imagine that you are attempting to talk a man off of a bridge. He declares, "Life is meaningless." You respond by saying, "God has a purpose for your life." Without hesitation he retorts, "If you mention God one more time I am going to jump." What do you do next?
I had one person say, "Just share what God has done for you..." Another said, "But I am called to be a witness of the truth...." If we proceed with such thought and the person jumps to their death, then based on 2 Timothy would God approve? Would we feel overwhelming shame? Most certainly, because we failed to correctly handle the word of truth.
I have had the honor of preaching the gospel to thousands of soldiers, and I have seen 2,000 soldiers come to faith in Christ because of the power of the Word of God. But there are times one on one that I do not mention Jesus or quote a single verse. We are to be as wise as a serpent yet as harmless as a dove. There are times when we boldly speak the gospel and there are times when we have to be the gospel without speaking it. It is all about understanding the proper use of powerful tools.