When we post a comment on social media, it’s permanent. It is indelibly stamped onto some recess of the internet, available for anyone to see at any point in time. The same can be said of the words we speak. However, our words are not just passively recordable, but they have an eternal effect on others and ourselves with ripple effects lasting into eternity.
Words are hurtful. We have all been on the receiving end of this truth, knowing that a hurtful word can penetrate a soul deeper than any sharp object. Our words have the profound ability to affect and influence people for the good and bad.
James 3:4-5, 8-10 states, “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…. 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 comes blessing and cursing.”
James says that it is full of deadly poison, as its venom can easily strike and maim anyone in its path. Our words are a windows into our hearts. Matthew 15:18 says “But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.”
As I read the James passage, verse 10 stuck out to me – “with it we bless our Lord and Father and with it we curse people.” God didn’t design an instrument of praise to also be an instrument of harm.
Our words must be consistently aligned with the truth of God’s Word. Controlling and redirecting our words is vital for building up others. It’s not enough to bless others on social media while cursing them in private.
2 Timothy 2:20-21 states, “Now in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and clay, some for honorable use some for dishonorable. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.”
Here Paul is telling Timothy how to be a person God uses. It has little to do with biblical training, church attendance or even your gifts. It has everything to do with your willingness to seek God and cleanse yourself from sin.
God uses people that pursue Him and flee sin.
Imagine sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner and the hostess comes to the table with a large crystal bowl of what looks like cornbread stuffing. Instead of putting it on the table, she proceeds to put it on the floor next to the dog’s water dish, where the dog comes over to eat his canned dog food. As the bowl has been made dirty by the dog food, is it now better suited for scraps for the dog or for dressing on the table? It’s a gross analogy but it goes to show how a vessel meant for honorable purposes can quickly be allocated for dishonorable purposes once it has become dirty.
With the same mouth we bless God and curse men and then wonder why He doesn’t want to use us? (I speak to myself more than anyone else.) Just as a the crystal bowl was made dirty by the dog food, so are our mouths made dirty are not as useful to God.
Fortunately, just because a bowl is dirty doesn’t mean it can’t be used again. It simply must be cleaned. If we want to be useful vessels of honor, we must cleanse ourselves of sin by confessing it to Him.
Our words have a boomerang affect. What comes out of our mouth ultimately affects others into eternity. Our words play a role in how God uses us.
Fortunately, when we used our words to reflect His goodness to others, God will continue to use us. As we know that our words have tremendous power, we can harness this power to encourage others.
Kind words cost us nothing but their effects may be eternal. One kind word can change someone’s entire day, week or even lifetime. As a habit, when you see something beautiful about someone, speak it. Proverbs 16:24 says that “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul.”
Make a point to never suppress an encouraging thought. May our lips be tight when we are tempted to speak critically and may they be loose when we see good in someone. Let’s pray the tremendous power of our words are used to build up others so they may see their true Source. If our words are a window into our hearts, may others see nothing but the light of God’s Love.
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‘Til Next Time,