The Destructive Power of Words

Just a couple days ago, I was wounded by someone’s words. Hopefully you’re not as sensitive and proud as me; but I’m sure you can relate to the destructive power of speech . . . unless, of course, you pass your days in solitude in a mountaintop convent or a submerged submarine.  

As I wiped my tears away, I picked up Nancy DeMoss’ four-week devotional booklet titled The Power of Words, and found my perspective changing as I read this:

Set a guard, O Lord, over my mouth; keep watch over the door of my lips (Psalm 141:3).

. . . Notice where the guard is posted. Not at the ear—to protect us from being hurt by words we might hear, or at the heart—to shield us from the wounds that are sometimes caused by what others do. Rather, the Psalmist asked God to post a sentinel at his own mouth knowing that the greatest danger he faced was not what others might do to him, but rather, what he might say that would harm others . . . (page 32)

Hmmm . . . I began to wonder, “How meek is my speech? (Remember, meekness is mildness of disposition and gentleness of spirit.)

• Am I quick to hurry people along so I can get back to my schedule and tasks?
• Do I subtly put people down or build them up when talking about them to others?
• Do I seek to assume the best about people, or do I convict them of ill-will in my thoughts?
• Do I regularly speak words of life and encouragement to those I live and work with?

If you’re like me, you might feel like a failure in this area. Thankfully, meekness is a fruit of the Spirit. No kidding! Check out Galatians 5:22-23. You and I don’t have to labor to produce it—it’s a natural outflow of the Holy Spirit in our lives when we crucify the flesh and allow Him to live through us. Rock on!

By His power, we can actively put Philippians 4:8 into practice by thinking thoughts that are “true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and praiseworthy.” The result will be words that give grace, strength, and encouragement to others (see Ephesians 4:29 and 1 Peter 3:8-10). 

Nancy recommends trying these phrases out on the people closest to us: I love you . . . I’m praying for you . . . I’m so proud of you . . . I’m sorry I treated you that way . . . Would you please forgive me?. . . I appreciate you . . . You’re such a blessing!

Take a moment to pray some of these verses into your life. Then, encourage someone else with a kind word, and let us know how it goes! 

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