The words we speak have the power to lift up or to tear down. Which shall your words be today?
Eternal Perspectives by Sally Bair
Ever since I learned how to read the Dick and Jane books as a child, words have captivated me. I determined to learn their correct spelling and usage, and how to string them into sentences that made sense. In so doing, I became an editor of sorts. Early on, however, I learned that it’s okay to correct youngsters for their incorrect spelling and grammar, but not for all adults. That’s why today I try to be a closet editor—correcting others’ errors in my mind only.
Because of my internal editing, I cringe at every error I see on Facebook. It’s not the spelling errors but the content of Facebook posts that disturb me the most. I read words that are vulgar, negative and hurtful, sometimes by nice, good, church-going folks. And because God is who He says He is, I’m sure He also is saddened by their written content.
God, in fact, has much to say about our spoken—and written—words. Jesus once took to task some Pharisees for following their strict traditions but disobeying the pivotal commandment of loving God above all else and their neighbor as themselves. He said, “Hear and understand: not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.” (Matthew 15:10)
Jesus also taught that we are known by the fruit we bear. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” He said. “For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:34-36) Our words contain the power to either tear down or lift up.
Scary words, to be sure. Scary enough that we should all heed them by searching our hearts and our habits. Our thoughts usually determine the words we speak or write. If our thoughts center on positive, encouraging and life-giving ways to communicate with others, not only will they be blessed, but we will too. And our hearts will rejoice.
One of the best ways to keep our thoughts and words, whether spoken or written, on the right track—God’s track—is to learn from His Word. Jesus is all about the good, the positive, and the life-giving way. In fact, Hebrews 4:12 says “the word of God is … sharper than any two-edged sword …”
Lord, thank You for Your powerful words of life. Fill our hearts, minds and lips with only the words that bring joy, peace, love and life to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.