February 16, 2017

It has the power to make us smile and to make us cry. It can light up hope or bring us down into gloomy despair.

It can be constructive or destructive, being powerful enough to catalyse changes. What we are talking about is “words”.

Of course, words can be a vehicle to transport our thoughts and ideas across to others. However, before we go spilling out speech from our overflowing hearts, let us consider what kind of impact our words can have.

James 3:3-5 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

What we say can lead to life or death. Think about the two robbers who were crucified on the both sides of Jesus (Luke 23:39-43). Their words led them to two completely different destinies. In the history of the Bible, we can also see that the negative speech of the ten spies who explored the land of Canaan once led to the death of 600,000 Israelite men (Numbers 13-14). On the other hand, the wise and timely words of Naaman’s servant led Naaman to obey the words of God’s prophet (2 Kings 5:1-14). Ultimately, he could witness a miracle. Gracious words can lead to life. American author and speaker, Zig Ziglar, once told this story:“A businessman dropped a dollar into the cup of a man selling pencils and hurriedly stepped aboard the subway train. On second thought, he stepped back off the train, walked over to the beggar, and took several pencils from the cup. Apologetically, he explained that in his haste he had neglected to pick up his pencils and hoped the man wouldn’t be upset with him. “After all,” he said, “you are a businessman just like me. You have merchandise to sell and it’s fairly priced.” Then he caught the next train.At a social function a few months later, a neatly dressed salesman stepped up to the businessman and introduced himself. “You probably don’t remember me and I don’t know your name, but I will never forget you. You are the man who gave me back my self-respect. I was a “beggar” selling pencils until you came along and told me I was a businessman.” “Like this, a single word transformed a man completely. Considering how powerful the words we say can be, we need to discipline ourselves to speak in a manner that conveys love, gentleness, and salvation. As the Scriptures teach us:

Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

There is a kind of speech which is beautiful: it is the message of salvation. Today too, let us go out to preach. Who knows how many “beggars” will be transformed into “businessmen”.

James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.