Remember the old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me?” Most of us remember this expression from childhood. It was a favorite response to something unkind that was said to us. If you think about it, words matter – a lot. Despite all our protests to the contrary, words often have a profound effect on us. Words can change our lives. God wants us to be careful with our words.
We remember the most hurtful words because they usually come from someone we care about. Those we respect and love have the most power to harm us with inopportune words. Let us not be guilty of such a profound wound. Remember the admonition in Psalm 19:
“Let the words of my mouth, and the mediation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14(KJV)
Words Can Be Harmful
People often joke around by saying hurtful things, only to retract them a little later with the offhand remark, “just kidding.” We all do it. It’s the norm. Isn’t it interesting how we can say good things and bad things at will? Usually we don’t mean what we say, but sometimes the person receiving the brunt of our poor humor doesn’t know the level of our sincerity. Our comment may be taken to heart. We need to learn to use our words in a way that pleases our Lord.
“Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?” James 3:10-11
Words reveal character. False words cast doubt in our hearts and minds. These words destroy trust and security. The person who utters them loses credibility. False words are lies. Who is the father of lies but Satan himself. Lies cause people to be misdirected away from the truth.
“But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.” Matthew 5:37
The power of words can dismay and disturb us to the point where we are useless, paralyzed with woeful thoughts. Think about how we react to news stories. Reports of threats, deaths, tribulations, and trials shake us up. Words of this nature stir us up with fear. We lose our sense of peace and order. Life becomes uncertain. We must not let words, even true ones, cause us to lose hope or lose faith in our Lord. He is not unaware of our circumstance and situation.
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1
Speak Words of Encouragement
Our faith in our Lord should remain strong, no matter our circumstances. Let us speak words of encouragement to one another in times of trouble so we each can endure to the end. Remember Paul’s encouragement to Timothy:
“Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” 2 Timothy 2:1-3
There is a dearth of good words spoken today. Edifying and encouraging words are much needed in our world. Let us always be mindful of our words, taking heed to Paul’s words to the Hebrews to exhort one another to righteousness.
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25