So yesterday, I began a series of what I call “The Spoken Word of God” in an effort to take a different approach to my blogging and satisfy the interests of readers of the more poetic type. Today I want to connect some of the dots that in that particular piece and dive deeper into one subject matter in particular…the power of our words. By doing this, I think it will give those already conscience minds a nice refresher on the power and dangers of our words. To those who have erred more in this area, here provides the opportunity to grow and do better.
The Bible describes the tongue in a myriad of ways throughout its text. We hear the tongue referred to as an instrument of praise to God, a voice crying out in the wilderness to signal the coming of the Savior, and many other ways. There is so much good that can be said about our words beyond the scope of what God has to say about it. The words “please” and “thank you” come to mind when thinking about manners. How about “I’m sorry” or “I apologize” when a wrong has been done? An even greater effect on the mind has the words “I forgive you”, when the offending party is in need of pardoning. ” I love you” connotes a deep, and lasting feeling of affection upon the hearer and suggests the person saying the words feels deeply about that individual. Just as easily, not saying these same words can evoke feelings of rejection and confusion for the person expecting to hear them. Words, or the lack thereof, have the power to shape how we view ourselves and the world around us. They can make a life partner look like a foe, and an enemy look like our best friend. Our words can build up and tear down all in the same moment. Once they are out there, we can never take them back, for better or worse.
James 3:6 says that “the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity.” Why does James use such strong words to describe so little a member? I would venture to say that he understood the weight of words. He had heard Jesus speak in those days, and had witnessed the power and influence of those words. Can you imagine the nature of words that were able to produce actions from people? Some rejected him, others followed his teachings, and others were so infuriated with the idea that someone would come along and challenge their way of doing things, that they accused him of blasphemy. The words of Jesus of condemned him to death on a cross. Paul’s words lead many to repentance and created disciples. The words of the Bible at large have pushed and drawn the hearer. I daresay that our words can do the same. Our words really do matter.
I think its easy to forget the serious implications of speaking without thinking. Again in James 1:19, we are wisely admonished to be “swift to hear, SLOW TO SPEAK, and slow to wrath.” What wise words! The verse immediately after tells us why we should be slow to wrath. Simply put, wrath and God’s righteousness do not mix. We can speak the love language of Christ and speak wrath. It just doesn’t work. Trust me. I have been angry and not taken the time to calm down and process before responding. I have been hurt and spoken from such a place. I have also been at the receiving end of angry, hurtful words. Some of these words I still live with.
In “Say it Out Loud”, my purpose was to state that our most vulnerable and most serious words should be saved for God. He’s the only one that can handle what we say. He’s the only one that can do anything about how we feel. He’s the only one that can hear our words and see our hearts. Honesty with him spurs Heaven into action. A relationship with him necessitates that kind of honesty.
Let’s be careful with our words. The world itself was framed by the word of God. Whose world will you frame today? Will you speak destiny or death into someone’s life? Let’s allow our words to make those around us better as we intentionally and purposely make healthy choices with our speaking.