Sound Waves

“For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned” Matthew 12:37

According to scientists, once a sound wave is set in motion, it continues on a never-ending journey, and that, with the right kind of equipment, each sound wave could be captured and reproduced at any time.

If that’s true, then every word ever spoken, by any person who’s ever lived, could be retrieved! The mind flip-flops. If someone invented an instrument to capture sound waves from the past, we’d have the potential to hear things we’ve only read about. Could you imagine it? History would come alive. We would hear the cry of the mob as they stormed the Bastille at the dawn of the French Revolution. We could listen in at the Berlin bunker as Hitler planned his suicide. We would hear the pleas for mercy as the Spanish Inquisition tortured some unfortunate soul. And we could listen to Cleopatra telling Antony of her undying love. We could also hear Jesus delivering His Sermon on the Mount or listen in as Elijah challenges the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel.

Of course if this were possible then we would be able to hear every word we’ve ever spoken, or every word our friends and family have ever spoken. Which means that apart from the good things we’ve said, every bad thing we’ve said would also be heard.  Every slip of the tongue, every angry word, the gossip, the lies, the sarcasm, the insults, the boasting, the complaining, the perversity, the cursing; everything would be heard. Nothing would be hidden. It’s a scary thought. And it’s even more scary when we realise that God doesn’t need a sophisticated listening device to capture or record our words. Matthew 12:36-37 remind us “that men will have to give an account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

The anonymous poem entitled, The Tongue, is a fitting conclusion to today’s meditation:

“The boneless tongue so small and weak

Can crush and kill,” declared the Greek;

“The tongue destroys a greater horde,”

The Turk asserts, “than does the sword.”

The Persian proverb wisely says,

“A lengthy tongue – an early death,”

Or sometimes takes this form instead,

“Don’t let your tongue cut off your head.”

“The tongue can speak a word, whose speed,”

Says the Chinese, “outstrips the steed,”

While Arab sages this impart:

“The tongue’s great storehouse is the heart.”

From Hebrew with the maxim sprung;

“Though feet may slip, don’t let the tongue,”

The sacred writer crowns the whole;

“Who keeps his tongue, does keep his soul.”

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