The Influence Of Our Words
The Influence Of Our Words
Death and life are in the power of the tongue…
Proverbs 18:21 (ESV)
Sometimes I forget that my words have power. Too often, I’ve said something hurtful because I didn’t fully weigh my words ahead of time. Or, when I could have used my words to give comfort or encouragement, I’ve opted to withhold them because I was afraid of overstepping or was too wrapped up in my own concerns.
Words have the power to influence other people. With our words, we can convince someone of the truth, change a person’s attitude or spur them to action.
Scripture is full of examples of people using their words to influence:
- When her husband treated David with contempt, Abigail used clever and persuasive words (plus cake) to convince David to not seek revenge (I Samuel 25)
- The people in Nazareth marveled at Jesus’ gracious words in the synagogue (Luke 4:22) yet only a few verses later, His words made them so angry they wanted to throw Him off a cliff (Luke 4:28-30)
- In a fascinating dialogue with God, Abraham used his words to intercede on behalf of the city of Sodom, “convincing” God to not destroy the city if He finds ten righteous people (Genesis 18)
Our words also have the power to bring great harm. As the above verse succinctly reminds us, death and life are both in the power of the tongue. James calls our tongue a “fire” and “restless evil, full of deadly poison” (James 3).
Lord, be with my mouth today. Let my tongue be full of grace and truth. Help me to use the power of my words to influence people to find You and to better follow You.
The good news is that God cares about our words and His Spirit in us can help us to use the power of our words for good. When Moses tried to use his lack of eloquence with words as an excuse to get out of going to rescue the Israelites from Egypt, Lord promised him, “I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall speak” (Exodus 4:12). I love the idea of God being with my mouth, guarding what I say and helping me to use the influence of my words in a way that brings Him glory.
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