Handle them carefully, for words have more power than atom bombs. – Pearl Strachan
The words we speak are powerful things. Words can tear down or they can build up. They can bring death or they can bring life.
This past week I did not use my words very well. In an argument with someone I love dearly I became defensive and emotional, and used my words to pierce and wound.
I’m sure you too have stories about the power of words – how the words someone spoke to you impacted your life. Perhaps they were words of encouragement that brought confidence and peace and joy. Or maybe they were words that brought pain and hurt and sadness. Perhaps those words are still lodged in your heart today…
Now, whether you consider yourself a Christ-follower or not, the Bible is full of reminders of how supremely useful, and how incomparably potent words can be. The scriptures call us to use our words wisely and well – to bring healing and forgiveness and wholeness and freedom. Here are just a few examples:
- Ecclesiastes 6:11 says that when used sparsely – succinctly – words carry great meaning.
- Psalm 119:130 says that words can actually give light. Words can give understanding to those who don’t yet understand.
- Proverbs 12:18 says that although reckless words pierce like a sword, words from the tongue of the wise can actually bring healing.
- Proverbs 17:27 says that when used with restraint, words prove you’re a person of knowledge.
- Proverbs 16:24 says that pleasant words are like a honeycomb - sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
- Ecclesiastes 10:12 says that although a fool is consumed by his own lips, the words from a wise man’s mouth are gracious.
- Deuteronomy 32:2 says words can actually descend like dew, like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
These are the kinds of words the scriptures call us to speak.
Humble words. Healing words. Wise words. Gentle words. Grace-filled words.
Now I wonder, are these the types of words you’re known for speaking?
If your closest friends or the family members who actually live underneath the same roof as you were polled anonymously about this, would they say that in the course of normal, everyday life, you can be counted on to speak words of encouragement and grace?
Let’s take today for example. Think about the very last thing you said before you started reading this blog.
- Who you were talking to?
- Do you remember what you said?
- Were the words you spoke life-giving and inspiring and grace-filled?
- Or were they… well, the opposite?
I find it interesting that for some reason God has allowed such power to inhabit our words? Astounding power in fact.
Jesus said that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. And so, when the words I speak are divisive and mean, then I must look deep into my heart to see where those words have come from.