They have shaped the course of human history—sparking wars, ending lives, and making either best friends or bitter enemies. It is no understatement to say that words are incredibly powerful. But words are also difficult to control. Each of us knows the bitter regret of saying the wrong thing. What does the Bible teach about our words? How can we learn to use them for good instead of evil?
Often, our mistakes stem from a careless attitude toward words. We think that our words are ordinary, unimportant, and unlikely to hurt anyone’s feelings. But the Bible reminds us how important our words are.
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.” (Proverbs 18:21)
If we want to encourage others, we need to think before we speak. Let’s ask three questions…
-Is it true?
-Is it kind?
-Is it unnecessary (for example, unkind words or gossip)?
Running our words through this filter will help us improve our words’ batting average. At our local church’s prison ministries, we want to speak wisely and thoughtfully.
If you scan the headlines of any major newspaper, you’ll notice that many of the articles focus on negative news. Whether it’s a scandal or a strike, bad news often attracts more attention than good news. In our conversations, we are often tempted to focus on the negative as well.
Instead of complaining, let’s focus on positive things. For example, we can share things we are thankful for. We can give sincere compliments and tell others how much we appreciate them. By focusing on the positive instead of the negative, we can encourage those who are feeling down.
“Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6) What does Paul mean by describing our words as “seasoned with salt”? Just as salt makes people thirsty, salty words can make our listeners thirsty for truth. Sometimes, in our concern to speak the truth, we forget that presentation matters.
Consider the difference between these sentences:
“I read Psalm 105 this morning and wrote down two verses.”
“Can you guess where the greatest revival in human history happened?” (Spoiler: in Nineveh - everyone repented!)
Which sentence is more likely to pique your listener’s interest? I think we’d all agree that the second sentence is much more effective. Asking questions, using pauses for effect, and not giving away the punch line immediately will help you speak salty words.
“Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.” (Malachi 3:16)
When we talk about the Lord, He pricks up His ears and listens. When we praise His beloved Son, He pays a little extra attention. God wants our mouths to be filled with His praise all day long (Psalm 71:8). At our local church’s prison ministries, we want to praise God because He is worthy. Even when life is very difficult, we can find hope and strength in God. He is our Refuge in life’s storms and our Comforter in life’s sorrow. Of all the topics we could discuss, our favourite topic should be talking about our God.
Our tongues have power to discourage others or to give them fresh hope. How will we use them today?
Are you searching? Jesus has the answers for addictions and stubborn habits. For more information, send the Crossmans a private message here on Facebook or come to a church service at Prince Albert Baptist Church. Take the first step in a walk of freedom!
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