Dave Beaudoin, Pastor
Seventh-day Adventist Church
Words are potent and powerful. They shape who we are. They define our relationships in life. In a large measure they affect how others react toward us. I love you. I hate you. You’re important to me. You disgust me. Thank you so much. I wish you had never been born. I’m so proud of you. You’re an idiot. You look really nice today. You make me sick. You did a great job. I’ll never speak to you again. Will you marry me? I want a divorce.
It is amazing how freely we use words in our common everyday lives without really thinking about how important they are. The average woman chalks up 18,000 words in a day — 7,000 for the average man. An average person opens their mouth 700 times a day. More than 4.2 million people are having a cell phone conversation at any given second in the world right now. The English language is rich and vast with approximately 800,000 words.
The Bible says a lot about our words. “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matthew 12:36-37). What we say and how we say it makes a difference. So it is important that we are careful what we say to each other.
In the book of James it says, “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.”
The Slave Lake Fire a couple of months ago destroyed 40 per cent of a 7,000 population town. They say it was probably started by someone carelessly tossing a little cigarette butt out a car window or a tiny spark from the wheels of a train passing by the town.
One little word can start a fire that can ravage an entire town. One word fanned by the winds of anger can quickly become uncontrollable and devastate a friendship, destroy a household, or shatter a marriage. Words have started more conflicts that any other weapon of mass destruction in the world.
But words also have the power for good. The wise man Solomon said, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18, 25).
When was the last time you said to your spouse, “Dinner was delicious. Thank for all you do for our family.” Or to your children, “I’m really proud of you. You did your best!” Or to a teacher, “Thank you for all you do for our children. You have a hard job and you do it so well.” Or to a co-worker, “You did a great job today.” Or to a friend, “Your friendship means the world to me.”
If you have trouble controlling your words, remember this: God’s transforming grace can change you from the inside and help you change your words. Secondly, listen more. “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak” (James 1:19). Third, control your anger. More hurtful words are spoken when we are angry than at any other time. Finally, pick you words carefully. A foolish man tells a woman to stop talking, but a wise man tells her that her mouth is extremely beautiful when her lips are closed.
Words are powerful and life changing. With 800,000 different words to choose from you have lots of options. So change your words and change your world.