If you have ever handled sulfuric acid, you know how dangerous it is. It would eat away at your skin if it spilled on you. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” If death is in the power of the tongue, will touching it hurt you like touching acid? No, obviously that’s not how it works. The death and the life the tongue can produce are not about the tongue itself but about the words it helps to create. The words can produce life and death. They can be like an infusion of vigor or like a slow poison.
Words are containers. They carry in them the power to teach and instruct, lift up and encourage, create humor and laughing, and to bring peace and joy. They are also containers that can mock, belittle, embarrass, tear down, deceive, and destroy. As we just read, “Death AND life are in the power of the tongue…” This is telling us that these containers we let come from our mouths have power—power to bring and support life or power to destroy. We probably don’t realize how careless we can be with this power source that absolutely lifts up or tears down.
I wouldn’t handle electrical wires without turning off the power source. Even though electricity is meant to be a blessing, it has to be channeled properly or it could kill. The same is true with our words. As a young Christian, the Lord instructed me to listen to the words I’d hear people speak carelessly around me—not to be judgmental, but to learn from for myself. I did what the Lord said, except that I started with myself. I couldn’t believe the words I’d let come out my mouth. They were often negative and too often words of death such as, “I’m going to lose my mind if this happens to me one more time….” or “It seems like everyone is getting the flu. I’ll probably get it next.” or “With the way the economy is going, I’ll probably be lucky if I have a job by next year and if I do, they’ll probably ask for a cut in pay.” I could tell you a hundred phrases filled with negative, death-filled words that were a part of my regular speaking.
I began to listen to those around me, “Ha ha! The way I eat I’ll probably be dead by the time I’m forty!” “Well, with the way my luck is going, if there is a drive-by shooter, he’ll probably get me! Ha ha!”
I was amazed at what I was hearing from myself as well as from those around me. As I studied God’s Word more, I began to understand that Words are a powerful part of God’s creation and a creative force in itself. From the beginning of Genesis with everything He created He began by speaking “let there be….” As I journeyed through the Word I noticed that God never spoke an idle word—and neither did Jesus.
My point today is that words are containers of power. They do affect us whether we realize it or not—whether we want to believe it or not. We all have experienced times when someone’s words brought hurt to you—possibly unbeknownst to the person who said them. They just blabbed them and they hurt you. How could that happen? It could happen because words contain power.
Does that mean every word I speak is a power source? The answer is yes. It’s just that it’s not always measurable at the moment. Someone’s kind words can make you feel good and even cry. Someone’s destructive words can make you feel horrible and cry. We think some idle words don’t do anything or make a difference but they do. All words always have some effect.
I learned long ago to make words work for me. Just as a framer frames a house before he can build the rest of it, I purpose to frame my world with words that encourage others and myself in God’s will and plan.
If your tongue has power, you have power. You can frame your world with acceptable words that please God and create life and blessing for others, or you can spill words like sewage that bring hurt. God’s will is always to bring life! Psalms 19:14 says, “Let the WORDS OF MY MOUTH, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my strength, and my Redeemer”
In His love,
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.