Words are powerful. Think about these words—and the possible implications:
“I do.” (Someone once said, “I said ‘I do,’ then I’ve spent the last 50 years learning what I did.”)
“No” (or “yes”)
“I forgive you.”
“I believe in you."
Our words are like dynamite…they can either be used for good or bad. In fact, the Bible has much to say about our words.
There is power in the tongue. Let me mention five ways the tongue is so powerful.
1. The tongue has the power to hurt others.
We’ve heard the old saying: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” I don’t know who originally made that statement, but they were wrong!
Our words have the ability to hurt people, and to wound them very deeply. All of us can remember some hurtful word, phrase or innuendo that someone said to us. And for many of us, those words still sting. Or perhaps we know that people have gossiped about us, or demeaned us, or slandered us. Proverbs 11:9 says, “With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor.”
Unfortunately, the tongue is a very difficult thing to tame. “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing” (James 3:10).
2. The tongue has the power to hinder our witness.
When we argue and complain
When we are negative
When we are self-centered and self-absorbed
When we say something that is inappropriate or off-color
All of these, and others, can hinder our witness.
3. The tongue has the power to help others.
Proverbs 10:11 says, “The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life.” Our words can be used to encourage others. All of us can probably remember something positive and encouraging someone said to us that made a difference in our lives.
Maybe it was a word of wisdom, of support, or love that you needed to hear.
Maybe you needed to hear that someone believed in you.
Maybe you needed someone to “speak the truth in love” to you (Ephesians 4:15).
Maybe it was a word to challenge you.
Maybe it was a word to comfort you.
Maybe it was a word to convict you.
But that word helped you. Your words have the power to tear down, but they also have the power to lift up.
4. The tongue has the power to heal others.
Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverbs 12:18 says, “Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”
Your words can be words of life to someone who is hurting. Your words have the ability and power to serve as a healing balm to the souls of people. Just think about the healing words of Jesus:
To the woman caught in adultery: “You are forgiven. Go and sin no more.”
To the paralytic: “Rise, pick up your bed, and go home.”
To a dead man: “Lazarus, come out!"
To the thief on the cross: “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
To His accusers: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
To Peter after he had denied Jesus: “Peter, go feed my sheep.”
5. The tongue has the power to honor God.
Hebrews 13:15 says, “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess His name.” It’s with the mouth that we confess Jesus and worship Him. (Romans 10:9-10)
Let’s commit to use our mouths to lift up rather than tear down. To help, heal and honor.