When I was at my writing group – Grace Writers – on Wednesday evening, one of my friends mentioned the power of words. And that got me thinking….
In my previous post, I wrote that Jesus upholds everything by the power of His word. That’s some power! It’s not just power in creation either, the things that He taught are still used in everyday language today. Going the second mile, doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, turning the other cheek – do any of these sound familiar? Jesus spoke these along with many other excellent teachings when He lived in first century Palestine.
The book of Proverbs in the Bible has much to say about our speech. In Proverbs 12:18 it describes rash words as being like sword thrusts. I guess we’ve all been hurt, sometimes deeply, by someone else’s thoughtless words to us or about us. And I suspect we’ve all been guilty of hurting other people by our own rash words. It can be easily done, but the damage it causes isn’t easily undone.
By contrast, the same verse says that the tongue of the wise brings healing. I know this to be true in my own life. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve felt a bit down and depressed, but someone speaks kindly or wisely and it immediately lifts you? Last January, when God had healed me of cerebellar ataxia but I was still struggling with ME/chronic fatigue, was a dark time in many ways for me. I knew God wanted to heal me and I experienced Him at work in my life, but it seemed as though complete healing would never come. I was often too exhausted from the ME to be able to read my Bible very much, but every Sunday without fail the Lord would always speak to me through other people’s words of knowledge and prophetic pictures during the worship time at church. These wise words brought hope and healing into my life and I clung to them through the week. Some of these words continue to strengthen me and give me hope today.
The apostle James writes about the power of the tongue in James 3. He describes it as a small fire which is able to set a great forest ablaze. Fire can be destructive. When I was a little girl I remember driving through North Wales with my parents during an aggressive forest fire. Although we weren’t close to it, I remember breathing the smoky air as the fire viciously ate everything in its path. But fire can also be a positive force for good. We talk of people being ‘set on fire’ by powerful preaching or for a passionate cause. Wouldn’t it be great if, by the power of our words, we set others on fire with a passion for God?