Published on August 19th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff0
Pastor Creflo Dollar: “Words to Live By”
When we look around us, we see plenty of examples of people speaking words of hate. It’s easy to use words to tear someone down, and if we’re not careful, we can get caught in the same trap. God gave us the power of language to use for good, not evil, but many seem to have forgotten this. Words are powerful, and the Bible has some specific lessons for us on how our speech can help or hurt others.
We get an idea of just how powerful words are when we read in the Scriptures how God created the heavens and the earth, simply by speaking (Genesis 1:1-31). Over time, the devil’s pervasive influence corrupted a beautiful gift, and humans twisted words into something they should never be. Today, speech used for evil purposes such as full-blown verbal abuse toward children, our spouses, or simply gossiping and spreading rumors, is offensive to God. “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice” (Ephesians 4:29, 31).
The rhyme we heard as children, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is misleading. Words can hurt, but they can heal also. Children internalize harsh, cruel words spoken to them much more quickly than adults, and the long-term effects of this type of speech are heartbreaking. Words can be like sharp daggers. Proverbs 15:4 in The Message Bible states, “Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim.”
Words can be used to calm and soothe, or to promote violence. “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1, NKJV). How many times have you seen a fight that began with a verbal confrontation? In everyday situations like these, we can conclude that the quarrelsome individuals lack the godly wisdom to control their tongues. “Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles” (Proverbs 21:23, NKJV).
What many may not realize is that whatever we repeatedly speak about will eventually become fixed in our minds, and whatever thoughts we entertain in our minds will find their way into our hearts. This works for both good and evil, and it all starts with the mouth. God has a stern warning against spewing out evil talk. “But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be”(James 3:8-10).
The good news is that the second we’re tempted to trash someone, we can wait a moment before we speak, make a conscious decision to turn over all temptation to God, and let Him handle the situation. When we rely on our own efforts, we’re not strong enough to speak words of grace and life, but we are when we depend on Him to give us self-control. We can’t lose when we let God do the talking. “Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose” (Proverbs 18:21, MSG). The choice is ours!