How we use words can kill or build our character. The power of our language can have a positive or negative effect. The words we speak can express attitudes and those attitudes can be very contagious.
One word from the human mouth may not seem like very much to the one who speaks it however, it can accomplish or destroy nearly anything.
In his epistle to the early New Testament church James wrote these words about the words that humans speak –
“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.
When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. 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. 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. 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.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” (James 3:2-12)
The human tongue and the language it produces is an extremely powerful tool. Jesus even said that when we stand before God one day we will give an account as to how we have used words. He said, “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak…” (Matthew 12:36 ESV) Jesus also made it clear that what comes out of the mouth is produced by the heart. (Matthew 15:18)
Words can be extremely destructive however, what we say can also be encouraging and uplifting. The writer of Proverbs said it best when he pinned these words:
“Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.” (Proverbs 16:24)
As for what we say and how we say it King David had some great advice. He wrote, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.”
How are you doing when it comes to the things you say? Are your words positive or negative? James gives some more simple advice when he says, “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless.”(James 1:26)
What we say and how we say it is an indicator of the condition of our heart. How is your heart? You can know by examining what you say! Your words can be destructive or they can help create a healthy environment. The Apostle Paul put it best with this bit of advice, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6)