Hammer. Kitchen knife. Bullwhip. Baseball bat. Rat poison. Bible.
I don't think anyone can argue that each of these is the perfect tool for specific jobs (well, ok, some may argue the Bible if they aren't Christian... but stick with me here...).
Each of these tools can be (and have been) used to hurt or kill other people. And, it would be my guess that none more-so than the Bible itself.
The Bible as a weapon
I think we've all heard the stories of wars in the name of Christianity; killings in the name of Christianity.
But what of the more insidious acts? The ways the Bible is used to knock down other people - whether physically or emotionally or spiritually?
The Bible is used to excuse (and make permissible) the beating of women and children.
It is used for the keeping and maltreatment of slaves.
It is used to break down people's spirit; making them feel utterly helpless, hopeless, and hell-bound.
It is used to tell people they are wrong, unintelligent, and not as good as someone else.
It is used to convince people they are horrible people, incapable of love or loving.
Now granted, this is only my experience and opinion, but I would say that most suicides of Christians are because of the Bible being used as a weapon.
The young teenager who kills herself because Christians throw the Bible at her, telling her she's going to hell for her promiscuity.
The young man who kills himself because Christians throw the Bible at him, telling him he's going to hell for being homosexual.
Men and women being judged for getting a divorce while they're in the midst of the normal pain that goes with such an event.
Children being lost and turning from God when pastors tell them it's their fault they have bruises - that the child obviously wasn't honoring his/her mother and father.
Parents being made to feel like complete outcasts by church-goers because they can't afford to buy their children expensive clothes, or because they don't go to church enough, or for whatever other reason.
God's Word is to be used to build up. ANY word should be used to build up.
I recently read an article that talks about how God's Word is to be used to build up, not tear down.... but this whole article centered around our language, and that we shouldn't cuss. Now, perhaps I'm a bit bias on this topic - I have the mouth of a sailor - but, I don't see cussing as a problem. Or, perhaps it would be more accurate to say - I don't see it as a problem when it isn't used to tear someone else down. Non-cuss words can be much more devastating to a person than a cuss word. For example: Telling someone "You're going to hell because you're a homosexual" is much more dangerous than me bitching about what a shitty day I'm having.
Yes, we must use God's Word to build people up! Yes! Yes! Yes! I wholeheartedly agree. But what does this actually mean?
It doesn't mean don't cuss. It doesn't mean avoid profanity. It means never, ever, ever, ever, EVER! make a person feel like they are less than you. Never make them feel they are unworthy. Never make them feel they are unloved, or incapable of being loved. Never make them feel there is a limit to their value and worth.
I was told when I was 12 or 13 years old that I better hope I'm good in bed, because that's the only way I'll be able to get and keep a man.
I was told from the time I was 8 years old that I was worthless and had nothing to offer anyone.
I was told from a very young age that I would never amount to anything.
These are the words that are dangerous. And when you couple teachings like this with misuse and abuse of the Bible? Well, it really is a wonder I didn't try harder to kill myself (botched attempts... another thing I was told I can't do right...).
But alas, I am rambling again and mixing my thoughts. To get back on track...
Use the Bible as a TOOL!
The Bible is an incredible book! It's a story of our Creator, and His insane love for us. It's a story of trials mankind has gone through since the dawn of time, and how they were able to find their way through their problems. It's a story of salvation. It's a story of hope. It's a story of just how worthwhile and loved our God sees us.
It gives us advice for how to live better, healthier lives. It gives us advice on how to build stronger, more loving relationships with God and each other. It gives us comfort, and hope, and courage, and strength to face all the crap life throws our way.
This is how we must use the Bible. This is what we should be sharing with everyone else. This is what God is about. He isn't about tearing someone down and abusing them. He isn't about causing harm or death in His name. In fact, I'm fairly certain He looks down on using His name and Word in such a way. He wants to have a relationship with us and have us come to Him. He wants us to recognize that we were made in His image (so in other words... you tell someone they aren't worthy or are unloved, you're saying that about God....).
Please, use the Bible and Christianity in general as a tool to build each other up - even the bully down the street, or the homosexual who just moved in next door to you. Do not ever use God's Word as a weapon.