Posted by: pastordarren | April 24, 2013

The Power of Our Words

I know that I have been very inconsistent with this blog.  It can go weeks without a post but I have several things coming and am setting up a routine to post regularly.  This post deals with the scripture and theme for our Renew service on April 28th.

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”  This nursery rhyme is one of the most untrue statements that we can learn as a child.  Is it true that the tongue is one of, if not the most powerful parts of our bodies, capable of destroying or uplifting others and ourselves? according to James it is.

A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it.  It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.  This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!  My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you? (James 3:3-12 The Message)

I think we can all remember times in our lives when the words that have been spoken to us have built us up, encouraged us, inspired us, healed us.  Yet there are other times, probably more times than not, where the words that have been spoken to us have belittled us, wounded us, destroyed us.  Sometimes we don’t realize the power of our words to build up or destroy, other times we are all too aware and yet use them anyway.  Our words can get us into trouble in many ways if we are not careful with what we say.  “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” and “Be careful what you say, for tomorrow you may have to eat those words.” are two phrases that speak to this.

It was mentioned to me by a wise man about the quote above “If you can’t say anything nice . . .”, that there are times were we do need to hear words of assessment that may not be pleasant to hear but it is necessary to receive them so we can work to improve what we are doing.  I think that the purpose of what James is saying above are the words of curse, insult, and degradation are the words that we need to not be speaking, that are the most hurtful and damaging to the hearers.

words_can_hurt_or_heal_smallThe issue that James raises and that we have to address is that how are we going to use our words.  As those who strive to follow Jesus, we are called to use our words to bless, praise and lift up, not to teardown.  The image of fresh water vs. brackish water, muddy water vs. the clear water, or apple trees bearing strawberries shows us that we should not have both coming from our mouths.  Obviously, we would want to hear the positive, uplifting, and life-giving words come from our mouths and those who are speaking to us which is not always easy.  It has been said that it takes anywhere from 4-7 uplifting comments to counter act 1 negative or destructive comment.

So my questions for us is this, “What kinds of words are most encouraging to you, that build you up and inspire you?”  “How do you deal with the negative words that we all hear?”  “How do you try to focus your words on uplifting and encouraging those around you?”

Share your thoughts and then come and join us Sunday at 6:30 pm.


  1. “It only takes a spark to set off a forest fire”, but the forest has to have the right conditions to actually burn.
    Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me. Only my reaction to words whether positive or negative, will actually give me physical pain. There are words, and there is how we decide to accept or react, that give words the power to hurt us.
    “The tongue is powerful”, but I do not believe it can destroy, and except that we should use our tongue for that which we perceive to be good and righteous, we must be true, and truth may or may not be uplifting.
    “A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain may indeed set the course of a ship in the strongest winds”, but the strongest of winds can incapacitate a ship so that it can not move in any direction.
    “If a bit in a horse” is meant to represent the soul of a person, then what ushers from the soul is changeable and ever changing according to the light it receives, so that even when a person gives the wrong message with words (negative or positive), he is capable of renewing himself on a lifetime of tries.

    What I believe of using words, especially in the English language, is to strive for God’s message to speak/write or the refrain from speaking/writing. To strive for the wisdom in the verses of Ecclesiastes 5 and the commandments of Jesus Christ.
    When I am in doubt, I try to be silent and listen.

    The best words said tome are “Thank You”, “God Bless You” and “I love You”

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