There is great power in our words…power to do good and power to do harm, but words of gratitude have a power that keeps on giving.
The saying that “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me” doesn’t appear to be true. I can’t count the number of people that’ve heard words from their parents like, “You’ll never amount to nothing” and “You’re useless.” Sadly, this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Words do matter…very much. They can build other’s up or they can tear other’s down, and in some cases, words have the power of life and death. Words can harm us and hurt us. The power in the tongue can be amazingly good or it can be terribly bad, and it is “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so” (James 3:10). Jesus warned us that “on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak” (Matt 12:36). Words are of supreme importance, since “by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned” (Matt 12:37). Believers are commanded to put “away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth” (Col 3:8).
Words of Death
Words can build up or they can tear down, and there’s no shortage of tearing down today, so why not choose to build other’s up with words. Say “Thank you” to someone, even if it’s their job to do it. Thank you goes a long way, and a smile is just as contagious as a “Thank you” is. The Apostle Paul admonishes us to “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph 4:29). If it’s not good for the hearer, it’s good for nothing, however, “if our words give “grace to those who hear,” then its building up one another. Even if there’s disagreement between two people, they don’t have to be disagreeable. They can agree to disagree and leave it at that, but words can hurt and destroy relationships. Our words can get us into trouble too. Jesus said, “that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire” (Matt 5:22). That sounds very much like words matter!
Words of Life
Solomon under stood that “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (Prov 16:24). We’ve already read that words can be like poisonous darts and afflict internal injury, but our words are like one-way shots…they cannot be taken back once they’re released, however, words can also be “health to the body.” Timing is very important in knowing what to say and when to say it. There’s a time to speak and a time to be silent. Scriptures say, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver” (Prov 25:11), however, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Prov 10:19). Words can save lives by warning others about something, but also there is also eternal life in words, or more specifically, in Jesus’ words. He said, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life” (John 6:33). When Jesus’ hard sayings began to thin the crowd of the disciples (John 6:60-66), Jesus asked His own disciples, “Do you want to go away as well” (John 6:67), but the Apostle Peter nailed it in explaining why they weren’t leaving like the others. Peter said, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God” (John 6:68-69), so not only do words build up, they can impart eternal life, and those words are found in Scripture.
I don’t thank the readers often enough for reading these articles, but I even thank those who are opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15), because even if they don’t believe, they have at least seen and heard the gospel and know what is required (Rom 10:9-13). The Apostle Paul wrote, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people” (1 Tim 2:1), and all people means, “all people.” And giving thanks is not just family and friends, but “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Phil 4:6).
Saying “Thank you” is an easy way to make someone’s day a bit brighter. It has positive effects…I would say, it has a ripple effect, because you may have left them in a better mood than when you first saw them. That’s something we could all use. Our state song in Kansas sings about this, saying, “Where seldom is heard a discouraging word, And the skies are not cloudy all day.” The skies I can vouch for, but sometimes I hear more discouraging words than positive ones. Pay it forward I say, and say “Thank you” to someone today, and as much as possible, “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person” (Col 4:6).
Article by Jack Wellman
Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is a writer at Christian Quotes and also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.