Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, 'Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save Yourself, and come down from the Cross!'
They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, shouting, 'Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people...' The crowd that followed kept shouting, 'Get rid of him!'
I was a shameful shouter: a word warrior tossing balls of fire at unfortunate people. Usually, I thought I was right, like David shouting at Goliath. Too often, I knew I was wrong, like Goliath boasting to David.
Because unless God tells you to call out a bully, warn of a danger or shout down a wall, shouting should be worship: an exuberant expression of praise. 'When the Ark of the Covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook' (1 Samuel 4:5).
Unfortunately, our world is accustomed to a different kind of shouting: an exuberant expression of condemnation, a.k.a. cursing, name-calling, or verbal hatred. ' 'Crucify Him!' they shouted' (Mark 15:13).
Consider it: Children raised by shouting parents can become like shy-sharp dogs raised by shouting owners: 1) shy (severely withdrawn), 2) sharp (dangerously aggressive), or 3) shy-sharp (alternating between behaviors).
In the 21st century, most of us are noise veterans; blaring music, brazen stars and big mouths not only dull our ears, but leave us strangely allergic to silence. We try to avoid it. So we work and sleep with televisions or headphones.
Actors, models and talent for Christ: Remember three things screaming demons would have you forget:
1) 'A soft answer turns away wrath' (Proverbs 15:1). 'It is to one's glory to overlook an offense' (Proverbs 19:11). Kindness and gentleness are from God. Verbal intimidation is not.
2) 'Be still and know that I am God' (Psalm 46:10). He doesn't talk like a tornado, rumble like an earthquake, or scorch like a fire. He speaks in 'A still, small Voice' (1 Kings 19:12).* In the midst of quiet is communication with God. That's the purpose of a prayer closet; isolation from world-talk enables us to hear God Talk.**
3) If you have faced verbal abuse, ask God to release you from all past word curses. From this day forward, speak the 'Helmet of salvation' (Ephesians 6:17) securely over your ears. You may hear bad words, but they will not penetrate, nor deter you from your purpose.
To Be Continued...
* Elijah hears from God: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Kings+19%3A11-13&version=NKJV
** 'But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father' (Matthew 6:6). 'Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed' (Luke 5:16).
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Dream Haters series.