“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
That old adage may bring some comfort to a little boy who has just gotten his feelings hurt at school, but it doesn’t hold a whole lot of water in the real world does it?
Words are powerful. They are powerful. And among all of God’s created, human beings are the only ones who communicate with words.
Trevor Hudson articulates well, “Our words, whether spoken or written, enable us to reveal or hide ourselves, to build or to break community, to help or to hurt our neighbor. When used carefully, words facilitate self-disclosure, foster communion, and release healing. When used carelessly, they create confusion, generate conflict, and cultivate chaos. Well aware of this immense potential that inhabits our words, the writer of the Proverbs exclaims without exaggeration: ‘Death and life are in the power of our words (Proverbs 18:21).”
I wonder how acutely aware you are of the power of your words? I wonder if you are intently cognizant that enveloped within the things you say lies the power of “death and life”?
How many relationships have been devastated by the speaking of hurtful words? How many loved ones have been injured, wounded deeply, distanced, through selfish, harsh, or uncaring words?
On the other hand, how many lives have been forever wonderfully impacted through encouraging words? How many have been healed through the kind words of a friend? How many believers has God empowered to accomplish great things for the Kingdom through the comforting, assuring words of a God-sent encourager?
The power to speak death. The power to speak life.
“Out of the overflow of the heart,” our Savior affirms, “the mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).
And so consider the words that you speak, and the words that you have spoken.
What do your words say about your heart?
Are there any fences that need to be mended? Or relationships that need to healed?