Friday, February 01, 2013

The Power of Words

Saying the Best Words in 2013. It never ceases to amaze me how powerful our words can be. Lives can be destroyed or saved by words. Wars are started with words. Lives are saved in emergency rooms as doctors give orders to staff that can make the difference between life or death. It is amazing how often we use our words carelessly, without thinking about the power of words. The Bible is crystal clear about the power of words. James reminds us that just as a small spark can set a forest on fire, the small tongue can cause great destruction, too. The Holy Spirit inspired Paul to give a simple, direct command to use our words to help others, not hurt them when he wrote: "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption." (Eph. 4:29-30) These two verses pack a lot of punch! Consider the three commands:

1.  Don't say ANYTHING unwholesome (words that hurt, destroy, or rob people of God's grace).
2.  Be intentional about saying things that are beneficial and helpful.
3.  Do not grieve the Holy Spirit, which obviously happens when you choose to say UNWHOLESOME words instead of HELPFUL ones.

The Holy Spirit takes very seriously the words we say, and we should be serious, too. A week and a half ago, a church member blessed me with words. Charles was eighty three, and vibrant. He was faithful at church, and loved serving, especially in the kitchen. We shared the kindred spirit of liking a good bargain. As I shared with the church this past weekend, on the Sunday before Charles passed away, I was called to the nursing home because he wanted to talk to the family and me about having his feeding tube removed because the doctors had said they had done everything they could. He was adamant about it being time for him to go home to be with his Savior and to see his wife. He passed away four days later. I had time to pray alone with Charles that Sunday, and when I said "amen," he said five little words that I will forever remember, and cherish: "I'm glad I met you." Five little words...thirteen letters from a man who would not be here much longer. They were simple, sincere, loving and powerful. Charles had no idea what power he was radiating in that moment, and it reminds me of how many opportunities we miss to be truly encouraging and helpful to others.

Someone once said, "be kind to everyone you meet for everyone you meet is waging a great battle." So let's give the Holy Spirit something to be joyful about. Saying something truly encouraging and helpful to someone. Think about the people you talk to who could use an encouraging word; pause before you say a cutting word, a gossipy word, or a hurtful word. Remind yourself that God's Spirit can be grieved by what we say to others, but He will be overjoyed to hear helpful words come out of our mouths, especially words that point people to Jesus Christ! Go and say something GOOD to someone today!

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