- Ballynahinch Congregational
A 'good word'
By Rev Victor Neill
Paul speaks of God’s love, through Christ which has reached these people in Thessalonica and their salvation was as a result of the ‘sanctifying work of the Spirit through the belief of the truth’ (2nd Thess 2 v 13b) wonderfully, they now had ‘everlasting consolation and good hope‘! The eternal future of those believers was secure, as is indeed that of every believer who is trusting in Christ alone for salvation. But of course they had not reached their eternal destiny and that was why Paul’s earnest desire for those believers was that they use their time on earth well ‘Comfort (encourage) your hearts and stablish (strengthen) you in every good word and work’ (vs 17).
It has been emphasised, and rightly so, the necessity of good works/deeds, which should be a natural outworking of our salvation. But perhaps we have not emphasised as much as we should the ‘good word’ - ‘strengthen you in every good word’. In these days of national crisis ‘a good word’ is something that is needed more than ever. If because of infirmity or restriction to home we cannot do as many good works as we would wish, there is still plenty of scope for the ‘good word’! In Proverbs we read ‘Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad’ (12 v 25). There are those today who just need to hear a good word, a kindly word, that will cheer and gladden their heart and which demonstrates your love and concern. The good word that you speak to someone today (and it in many cases may have to be by phone) may be a word from Scripture that the Lord brings to your mind and as always it must be spoken in love. However, not every word spoken is ‘a good word’! For words can be used as weapons and can do untold damage and hurt, we are reminded of this by Job ‘How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?’ (Job 19 v 2). Someone has written:
‘Cold words freeze people, and hot words scorch them, and bitter words make them bitter. Kind words also produce their image on men’s souls; and a beautiful image it is. They smooth and quiet and comfort the hearer’