The Power of Words

The tongue is smart yet powerful!
“The tongue is the only tool that gets sharper with use.” –Washington Irving

Every day words that are spoken (and unspoken) make an indescribable impact on our lives. Scriptures teach us that our “tongues” can be used for good or for evil. They can convey words of hope, encouragement, and support or words of destruction towards one another.

I am reminded of the words that Jesus taught us and spoke regarding healing the brokenhearted (Psalm 147:3); setting the captive free (Luke 4:18-19); making the lame to walk again (Mathew 11:5-6); and causing the blind to see (Luke 18:40-42). He spoke of healing those who were less fortunate, forgiving one another, and loving your neighbor as yourself. As our example for Christian living, He used kind, gentle words with all of the people whom He met.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.” (NIV)

The Book of Proverbs is called the Book of Wisdom because it describes how we are to live our lives but also how we are to conduct ourselves in every situation. It gives us instructions on fearing and trusting the Lord, and we are to seek his wisdom in decisions we make every day.

Ecclesiastes 3:7 says that “there is a time to be silent and a time to speak.” When I was growing up in a dysfunctional family, there were many times when my tongue got the best of me, especially if I was accused of doing something that I know I did not do. There were a lot of dynamics going on in a household with 12 brothers and sisters and sometimes unkind words were spoken to one another. It wasn’t until I became a Christian and began reading the Word of God that I finally realized that what I said could either hurt someone’s feelings or I could try to be an encourager. It wasn’t easy (and I certainly was not perfect), but the Lord really helped me “hold my tongue” in a number of situations that arose within my family.

Proverbs 15:1 tells us that “a gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” We have it within ourselves to rely upon the Holy Spirit to become wise in the use of words. There were many times my family noticed a change in my attitude towards them, especially my alcoholic father. Little did I know that my actions toward him would actually convict a “once born again Christian” who later gave his life back to God. One by one, my brothers and sisters gave their lives to God as well. I tried to be a “light in the darkness” because I definitely felt God was using my relationship with Him to help my family turn to Him.

You never know what a day will bring–the moments we have with one another that will not come again. James 3:5-6 talks about “taming the tongue”–“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (NIV)

Scriptures that give us guidelines on the importance of using gentle words are from Proverbs. Verse 15:4 says, “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit”; Verse 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones”; Verse 18:4 says, “The words of a man’s mouth are deep waters, but the fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook”; and Verse 18:20 says, “From the fruit of his mouth a man’s stomach is filled, with the harvest from his lips he is satisfied.” (NIV)

In conclusion, I want to end this post with Matthew 12:34-37: “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks. The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in him, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in him. But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.” (NIV)

May the Lord bless and keep you in His loving care.