The Power of Words

A Matter of Life and Death

Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light.” (Genesis 1:3)

What do we think of when we think of “power?” Maybe the Energizer Bunny. In 2017, a Madison Avenue poll voted the Energizer Bunny the most iconic symbol of long-lasting power. Maybe we think of lightning, or leaders of nations. Maybe we think of lightsabers.

But perhaps, when we think of power, we should be thinking of words. Words have eternal and immeasurable power.

Think about it—how did God create the world? With words. God spoke: Let. There. Be. Light. And guess what happened? Light appeared on earth. God’s powerful words brought our world into existence.

When Jesus walked the earth, his words had power. Think of the miracles unleashed by these words: “Peace, be still,” and the wind and waves ceased their turmoil. “Rise, pick up your bed, and walk,” and a man crippled for 38 years regained the use of his legs. “Lazarus, come forth,” and a man dead for three days walked out of his tomb.

Just like God, whose image we bear, our words are powerful. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” When we speak, it’s a matter of death or life.

The words we speak matter.  Words can bless or curse. They can build up or tear down. They can heal or wound. Our words can give life or destroy life.

Reckless, hurtful words bring death to friendships, marriages, families, and ministries. Uplifting words bring reconciliation, hope, and understanding. And remember that we “eat the fruit” of our words. What goes around comes around, and the words we speak not only hurt or help others, but they produce fruit that eventually hurts or helps us, too.

Every day, we speak thousands of words. Each time we speak, we choose to speak life or death, blessing or curse, healing or hurt. Each conversation offers a new opportunity to build someone up or tear someone down.

Our words are filled with power and have immense potential for both good and for evil. Are we spewing bitter, cancerous words that injure those who hear them? Or are we pouring out sweet, healing words to encourage others? Speak carefully. It’s a matter of life or death.

Dear God, sometimes I forget how powerful my words can be. Sometimes I speak carelessly instead of carefully. Lord, set a guard on my tongue so the words I speak are words of life and health. Let me spread kindness and love through the words I speak. Make me aware of times when I’m tempted to say something that would hurt someone else, and of opportunities to speak up and build up those around me. In Jesus’s name, amen.

We’d love to hear from you! What challenges have you had in controlling the words you speak? How have you handled those challenges? Drop us a note in the Comments below.

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