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I love the power of words.

Particularly when they do double duty.

I was reminded of this affection while reading from Proverbs 18 this morning.

King Solomon was writing about oft-selfish human nature that appears in the courtroom, yet the words jumped off the page for me when I considered a more spiritual setting.

“In a lawsuit the first to speak seems right, until someone comes forward and cross-examines.” (Proverbs 18:17)

With the Casey Anthony trial now concluded with an acquittal of child murder charges, millions of people have strong opinions about the failed effort to send the young woman to the electric chair for “murdering” her toddler daughter.

The consensus in the media and in the coffee shops and hair salons of America was that the party girl Casey was tired of the parenting inconvenience and simply killed young Caylee.

But a jury of 12 Tampa residents said the state failed to present a strong enough case.

Casey Anthony’s defense attorney poked holes in the state’s prosecution witnesses, one cross-examination question at a time.

He didn’t have to prove her innocence.

He simply had to ask the cross-examination questions that would create juror doubt about the certainty of guilt.

Simply stated, the cross-examination probably saved Casey Anthony from a death penalty.

Though the circumstances of our lives are much different than Casey Anthony’s, we also can be saved from the spiritual death penalty if we are persistant and consistent with “Cross”-examinations of the things we hear.

Particularly those comments that are accusatory in nature or are temptations promising good things for us if we’ll just do what the voice tells us.

You’ve heard people make all sorts of accusations against people you know and the poisonous words seemed plausible at first, It would have been easy to jump on the “He’s guilty” boat.

But when a level-headed, truth-seeking person starts asking fact-finding questions that reveal the accuser’s darker motives or mental laziness, it becomes clear that the whole story is not being told.

This is particularly true when people attack Christians, not because of verifiable mistakes but instead because of antagonism toward our faith.

Here’s a simple way to Cross-examine what you hear and what you do.

Examine every word or deed according to whether it lifts up the purpose of the Cross or if it tears its influence down.

If someone is griping about some person or program at your church, examine if their objective is building the Church or tearing down the mission of bringing souls to the Cross.

If you become snared in a workplace soap opera because of manipulative, mouthy people, please pray for wisdom and boldness so that you can ask questions that pursue truth and that demonstrate your lifestyle loyalty to the Truth of God.

Many people won’t like your commitment to the truth/Truth. But the Judge of the Universe will and it is His verdict that counts in eternity.

As always, I love you

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