«There is one who speaks like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise promotes health» (Proverbs 12:18).
Elkanah was a rich and influential Levite who loved and feared God. However, his marriage to Hannah had not given them children and that made him very sad. Desperate, he fell into the temptation of taking another woman in order to have children. That is how Peninnah came to his home. And yes, she gave him the longed-for children, but she also brought bitterness, unhappiness, and trouble to his home. Immediately, Peninnah marked her territory and directed her cruel attacks toward Hannah. The Bible says that she «provoked her severely, to make her miserable» (1 Samuel 1:6). It seemed that one of the great pleasures of her life consisted in annoying Hannah. And when Elkanah’s new wife started having children, the situation got even worse. The taunts increased. To this we must add that the new mistress of the house «was jealous and narrow-minded, and she bore herself with pride and insolence»—Patriarchs and Prophets, ch. 55, p. 569. Curiously, Peninnah was considered favored by God because of her children, and therefore she promptly attended the sanctuary to thank the Lord for His kindness toward her. It is even possible that she interpreted that her offenses toward Hannah had the «blessing» of Heaven, so for several years she dedicated her time to making her life bitter.
Had Elkanah imagined the problem he was going to cause because of his lack of hith in God? His house had become a battlefield. The interesting thing is that Hannah did not respond to the insults and grievances. Why stoop down to the same level as her aggressor? Rather, she took refuge in prayer and her trust in God. There she would find the great answers to her problems and her life would take a very pleasant turn at the occasion of the birth of Samuel, her son.
Have you come across someone whose words are like «stab wounds»? Have you asked your best friends what your words are like? You may be surprised if they say to you: «The truth is that your words are only pessimistic, and you criticize others too much.» Or, you might be like Mailo, one of my great friends from college, whose words comforted me a lot every time I had a chance to chat with him.
Today I invite you to use your words to edify, comfort, and strengthen the life of another person. This will help you to be a channel of God’s blessings to others.