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A Word on Our Words

Words are awesome things! Everybody loves and uses words, and they even have word games! Words start things, finish things, build up, inspire, challenge, encourage, and rebuke, but they can also tear down. Words are a powerful force!

I wonder what the most powerful and memorable words someone has ever spoken to you are. Or what words do you carry in your heart? Words can stick, and that can be a good or bad thing, depending on the word!

Two quick things today: our words to God and our words to other people.

Ecclesiastes 5: 1-2 says, “As you enter the house of God, don’t make rash promises, and don’t be hasty in bringing matters before God. After all, God is in heaven, and you are here on earth. So let your words be few”. The message of this passage is to be careful with our words before God because God may hold us to our word. In the incredible story in Judges 11, Jephthah said that he would sacrifice the first thing that came to meet him from his house when he returned home if God would give him victory over the Amorites. The first thing turned out to be his daughter! He was held to it; his daughter was sacrificed in the sense that she never married and was counted out of being in the lineage of the awaited Messiah.

Of course, God wants to hear you, He wants us to pray, and He loves to spend time with us, but He is also a holy God, and we do not want to speak rash words and promises before Him. Of course, He is gracious and merciful, but it isn’t a bad thing to assess how we speak to Him.

Secondly, our words to others or about others:

James doesn’t hold back in James 3:5-10 “So also, the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Let’s be honest; we all get our words wrong sometimes; we can say things we shouldn’t to others or about others that leave a mark. Hurtful and damaging words can roll out of us, but they leave a person wrestling with what was said, weighed down underneath it, for hours, days and even years afterwards. Sometimes, we just let go of our words, which become like heat-seeking missiles that explode in the privateness of somebody’s heart and mind, wreaking havoc. God forgives, we can apologise, and situations can be restored, but we do well to bring ourselves back to God’s Word and measure our words against His holy standards. We stand accountable to Him.

On the other hand, we have the absolute privilege and opportunity to build others up with our words, and by God’s grace, may we live under that leading and direction. Let your words be a powerful force for good and not for evil.

Oh God, Create in me a clean heart (Psalm 51:10). Forgive me for words I have spoken that have not been honouring to You or others. Psalm 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.” Amen