The Power of Words

Words are a powerful tool. The words we choose to use are things we should think very much upon. Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers” (Eph. 4:29). The words we choose to speak can be very encouraging and lift someone up. At the same time the words we choose to use can be very hurtful or can really tear someone down. In the Gospel account of Matthew, Jesus says; “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” (Matt. 12:36-37). Jesus warns us to use our words carefully. Too many times we do not pay attention to how we use our tongues and sometimes it can get us into a world of hurt. Let us take just a few seconds to think about the power of our words.

When we first think about our words I feel it is important for us to remember that God used His words to create this universe. If we recall, back in the Old Testament, God spoke this world into existence. If we go back and read the first chapter of the Bible (Gen. 1), we will see the words, “God said” no less than ten times in that text. As we read Genesis the first chapter, we find that as God said it, it happened. God is the all-powerful God. So, as God finished, He said, “it is good.”

We also know by reading the scriptures that Jesus used the power of His words for the good of others. If we recall, all the through the Gospels, Jesus healed people by the power of His words. In Matthew the eighth chapter, for instance, we read where Jesus healed a leper by simply saying, “I am willing; be cleansed” (Matt. 8:3). We can continue to read in the same chapter where Jesus cast out the demon-possessed spirits with just a word, and healed all who were sick. (Matt. 8:16). We could keep going with those Jesus healed but I think we understand how powerful the words of Christ are. Jesus, however, did not just heal those who were sick by His words. Jesus had the ability to raise the dead, as well. We read in John’s account about a man named Lazarus. Now Lazarus had been dead four days before Jesus arrived in the city, but we read in John the eleventh chapter where Jesus is standing in front of the tomb where Lazarus laid. We then we read in John 11:43 where Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, come forth!” Jesus indeed has the power to do all that He pleases, but it is important to remember that all Jesus said was for the benefit of others. Jesus was not out to hurt anyone with His words. He simply wanted to edify the saints and bring glory to His Father in Heaven.

Now, I understand that we as humans do not have the same powers as God or Jesus. I understand that we are not going to be able to heal the physical body by our words. However, I do believe we can heal or destroy the spiritual body by our words. The way we talk to people can be the very best thing to bring one to Christ, or it can be the very thing that takes one away from Christ. Remember where we read earlier in Matthew 12? Well, let us read more of that chapter. Jesus says, “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of Vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 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” (Matt. 12:33-37). Jesus tells us that people will know us by our words. People will know if we mean good, if we are trying to be that encouragement, if we are trying to help further the gospel of Christ. At the same time people will know if we are out to do evil. They will know if we are trying to drag them down, if we are trying to stand in their way of the Truth. It is time we all started thinking seriously about our words. I saw a post the other day that describes this situation well, and I feel it very fitting here. It took the letters of the word “think” and made some good points. It said, “Before you speak…THINK… is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?” Let us all THINK before we speak.