I read something last night that really struck me. It was a quote from Chief Joseph of the Nez Percé tribe of Native Americans, at the end of their long effort to fight, then work with the government, to be restored to their land. He said,

Good words will not get my people a home where they can live in peace and take care of themselves. I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and broken promises.

Good words and broken promises.

Are there really any good words if they’re not backed by truth? They may sound pretty, they may get our attention and even draw us in, but without truth…they’re lies. They’re twisted versions of truth that play into our deepest needs and desires, daring us to believe and buy in, with no intention of fulfillment. Empty words. Hollow.

We have an enemy who uses words like this. A smart opponent who lurks in shadow, looking, always looking, for our vulnerable, broken places. He whispers what can sound like good words…temptations toward things that seem right in the moment, or might provide a salve to a wounded heart. But once we listen and take the glossy apple, we wake up, stranded and dazed, in a foreign land of shame and guilt and realize those good words weren’t good at all. Just broken promises.

Thankfully, there other words. True and right and unshakeable. Words rich and pregnant with meaning, and all for our benefit. Trumping lies every time, they bind up the wounds that are left behind. Really, truly good words, they are wrapped in promises that can never be broken, and they’re written by One who does not hide in darkness, but stands in open, brilliant light. A light that never leaves us displaced, but points us in the direction of home.


“Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 ESV

“He  [satan] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NIV

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17 NIV

“Rejoice not against me, O my enemy! When I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light to me.” Micah 7:8 AMP