It seems like so much of life is linked to the idea of power. To some extent all of the following are influenced by power: economics, politics, employment, family and sports (I’m sure I’ve missed a few). Power is a scary thing. When abused it becomes dictatorial, when neglected it leads to chaos. We are all under power and we all exercise power over others.
You may not agree with that last statement, yet each of us have within our grasp an immense power. You may not possess the physical, intellectual or political power that other people have, but you do have at your disposal a power that is as potent as any power on earth. It’s the power of words. Never doubt the power that your words possess. The phrase the pen is mightier than the sword is true. Proverbs 18:31 says it a little differently but it has the same meaning: Death and life are in the power of the tongue. The New Testament writer James put it this way: Indeed we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder, wherever the pilot desires. Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things (James 3:3-5).
The Bible refers repeatedly to the tongue or how we use words. It warns us that our words can be used to destroy people.
Psalm 52:2 – Your tongue devises destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
Psalm 64:3 – Who sharpen their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows – bitter words.
Psalm 140:3 – They sharpen their tongues like a serpent; the poison of asps is under their lips.
The good news is that we can also use words in positive and healing ways.
Psalm 35:28 – And their tongue shall speak of Your (God’s) righteousness.
Proverbs 12:18 – The tongue of the wise promotes health (or healing).
Proverbs 15:4 – A wholesome tongue is like a tree of life.
The choice is up to each of us. You can use words like a sword to cut and destroy others or you can use words to praise God and bring spiritual, emotional and even physical healing to others.
Two other passages that relate to how we use words are:
Psalm 139:23-24 – Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me (including how I use my tongue).
Proverbs 12:19 – The truthful lip shall be established forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.
Why only a moment? Because God will ultimately deal with a lying tongue and in God’s timing it will only last for a moment.
Be careful of the words that you use this week. They are powerful. They hold the power of life and death.
Stay in the Word