I’ve fallen off a bicycle more times than I care to count, and have a variety of scars to show for it. I’ve been thrown off a four-wheeler, been in two roll-over accidents, and had my appendix out. Yet, I can honestly say that what has caused more hurt in my life than any of the above physical pains has been that caused by words. I can vividly remember names I was called in elementary school, friends that broke my trust, rumors that were spread about me, and times I was flat-out lied to. Many of those hurts still sting, even many years later. What’s even more painful for me to admit, is I know my words have hurt others. There have been times that my anger has gotten the best of me, and I’ve spewed things I desperately wanted back. Other times I’ve gotten caught up in gossip and lies that ran their course in hurtful manners. Yet, I’m guessing for every time I’m regretful for how I’ve used my words there is another time (or more) that I’ve totally forgotten about.
Here’s what James has to say about the power of our words.
If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. James 3:3-4
James is telling us that words are a REALLY big deal. He points out that while a ship may be massive, in reality, it is controlled by a tiny instrument called a rudder. It’s similar with our words. They may seem like a really small thing, but they make a massive impact. As seen above, they can cause a ton of pain. BUT, they can also do a lot of good. I would never have known about the love of forgiveness of Jesus had someone not shared it with me. A major reason I am in ministry today is because of the many encouraging words people shared with me over the years. The reason I can get through some of the most difficult moments in my life is the words of love and encouragement others have shared with me. The words that come out of our big fat mouths, and are big fat texting fingers, have the power to impact lives in big and powerful ways, both for good and bad. This week, I encourage you to really think about your words. What impact are they having? Is it an impact God would approve of? Realize the words coming from your mouths and fingers are some of the most powerful resources you will have ever. Make sure you are being the best stewards of them possible.