The Power of Words

Several months ago a Syrian group hacked the Twitter account of the Associated Press and tweeted these words: “Breaking: Two explosions in White House and Barack Obama is injured.” This fake tweet caused the Dow Jones industrial to drop about 150 points and erased 136 million dollars in market value in three minutes. This story reveals the truth that words are powerful. There is no way to overemphasize the power of words. A judge speaks a sentence and completely alters a man’s life. The President speaks and has the potential to drastically change entire nations. Preachers, teachers, and parents speak and can affect the eternal destiny of someone.

Throughout the day we speak and type thousands of words. Studies have shown that women use approximately 25,000 words per day while men use about 12,000 words per day. The wise man wrote, “Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21). According to Solomon our words hold the key to life and death. While our words might not literally kill someone, the message is clear: Words can hurt. Once we say something it cannot be taken back. We don’t get a “do over” in the event that we chose the wrong words. The words we choose to say or type today have lasting impact. Here’s some help when it comes to our words:

Pay attention to your words.

“There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing” (Proverbs 12:18).  When you speak without thinking about the words you use, you get careless. Take some time this week to think about the words you use. Consider whether your words will bring healing or harm.

Praise others with your words.

Don’t use your words to tear others down, use your words to give someone encouragement. Paul wrote, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Ephesians 4:29). Find the single parents who bring their children to worship and commend them. Tell the older saints how much their faithfulness inspires you.  Encourage the struggling Christians to keep fighting against the devil. There are people all around us who need encouraged. Take the time to speak sincere words of edification.

Pray to God about our words.

God expects us to control our tongues. Remember James 1:26 says, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless.” With God’s help we can control our tongue! Remember Peter? He cursed and denied Jesus with his tongue. However, with the help of God, he grew and matured spiritually.

We never read of him using his tongue that way again.  One Psalmist penned this prayer for us: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer” (Psalm 19:14). Pray to God that He will give us the strength to use words that are pleasing to Him!