We all know intellectually that words matter, but we also forget – often. This was brought to my attention again this week when my words got me into trouble.
Sometimes we think that only certain kinds of words matter. The truth is that all kinds of words matter. It’s not just the negative words that matter – the positive ones matter even more.
Here are a few examples:
Angry words matter – they wound others.
Sad words matter – they are a cry for help.
Careless words matter – they indicate we a need to be more careful.
Unclear words matter – they can easily be taken in a way we didn’t mean them.
Negative words matter – they can crush someone’s spirit.
Positive words matter – they can build someone up.
Insensitive words matter – they show a thoughtless spirit.
Kind words matter – they will lift a person’s spirit.
Critical words matter – they will stop someone from trying.
Defiant words matter – they indicate a lack of respect.
Diplomatic words matter – they indicate a careful person.
Enthusiastic words matter – they move people to action.
The list goes on. I read a list of 180 different types of words that the author referred to as tone words. IE, words that indicate a certain tone in our voice that gives our words specific meanings and power.
The Bible warns us about the words that we use. Just in the book of Proverbs we read these statements about words.
Proverbs 12:18 – There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 13:3 – Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.
Proverbs 15:1 – A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.
Proverbs 16:24 – Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.
Proverbs 18:21 – Death and life are in the power of the tongue.
Proverbs 21:23 – Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble.
And then this one from the book of James.
James 3:5-6 – See how great a forest a little fire kindles! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it defiles the whole body and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell.
Every so often we need to be reminded – I need to be reminded – just how much Words Matter.
Stay in the Word