The Bible is very clear about the words that we say. But somehow, in our culture today, what we should say and what we do say has become lost. The truth is that people can hurt people with the words they say.
There was a saying when I grew up that went like this, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
On the playground we would say that when, in actuality, someone was hurting us with their words.
I have a powerful message that I teach on our words and there are three points in this lesson:
- Words are powerful.
- The love of God never participates in gossip.
- Speak words of love.
1. Words are powerful.
“Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 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.
3 When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 4 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. 5 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. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
7 All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
9 With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. 11 Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? 12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.”
James 3: 1-12
Words are like tools. We can use our words to destroy people or we can use our words to build people up. If someone has spoken mean words that have hurt you, you may be tempted to say mean things back to them. You may want to punish them with your words. Not only does God want us to forgive people that hurt us, He wants us to say nice things back to them. This is really hard to do, but it is what God does for us and we have the Agape kind of love inside of us.
2. The love of God never participates in gossip. Never talk bad about somebody behind their back. This grieves the Holy Spirit, because they are His kids too. (Ephesians 4:30) If someone has hurt you, it is good to talk with them to resolve the conflict, but it is never right to talk about someone behind their back.
3. Speak words of love. You can do this. Choose to say words that build people up, especially if you are tempted not to. You can always find something nice to say about somebody. The Bible says that pleasant words are like a honeycomb. This is one of the simplest ways to walk in love. Say nice things. Speak words of love.
How do you teach your kids to walk in love with their words?