The Power of Our Words
“So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell.” - James 3:5-6
When I was a kid I learned this line, “Sticks and stone may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” The problem with this catchy saying is nothing could be further from the truth. Words can hurt! They have tremendous power and can cause real and lasting damage. I would go so far as to say that words are far more painful than sticks and stones and broken bones! As you are reading this there may be words popping into your mind that have hurt you deeply or caused tremendous pain in your life.
The tongue is a small member of our body that is no small matter at all! Our words may seem like no big deal but they carry with them tremendous power. Please don’t miss this. The most powerful weapon that you will ever hold is resting in your mouth every single day. The words that you use carry with them tremendous weight and are not to be taken lightly. You are walking around with a loaded gun that can either be a source of great protection and encouragement or a source of great destruction and pain. Whether we realize it or not, we are known for what we say. The way people view you as a person is directly connected to what they hear you say and how they hear you say it. The words that come forth from your mouth have the ability, as James so wisely proclaims, to set on fire the entire course of life.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
Your words can literally alter the course of someone’s life.
So, here is the question: How can we use words in a way that they build up instead of tear others down?
Think before you speak: Choosing your words wisely and learning when to keep your mouth shut can transform the impact of what you say.
Guard how you speak: The tone and the delivery just might be as important as the words we say.
Reconcile: A desire to reconcile is a defining characteristic of a follower of Jesus.
May we who are followers of Christ live as those who have been reconciled and may we be active ministers of reconciliation so that others can see the beauty of God’s love and grace alive in us. Sticks and stones may break my bones, and words may cause great damage, but the word of the cross has the power to heal and set us free when we recognize the love and grace that has been proclaimed through Jesus Christ.
*Taken from a sermon by George Wright, Senior Pastor, Cedarcrest Church