The Power of our Speech

I want to take the next several weeks and share some lessons the Lord has been teaching me about the amazing power of our speech. That power can be wielded for good or not so good.

As I was preparing this E-Bulletin I was reading James chapter 3:1-12. I was thinking of the best way to discuss and describe the power of our words. Then I re-read the text in Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase “The Message.” He says it better than I ever could. So my assignment for you this week is to simply read James 3:1-12 in “The Message” and notice how Peterson describes the awesome power of our words for both blessing and destruction. I have underlined some of the graphic imagery captured in this text. Read it and let it sink in directly to your heart.

Don’t be in any rush to become a teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards. And none of us is perfectly qualified. We get it wrong nearly every time we open our mouths. If you could find someone whose speech was perfectly true, you’d have a perfect person, in perfect control of life.

 A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse. A small rudder on a huge ship in the hands of a skilled captain sets a course in the face of the strongest winds. A word out of your mouth may seem of no account, but it can accomplish nearly anything—or destroy it!

 It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell.

This is scary: You can tame a tiger, but you can’t tame a tongue—it’s never been done. The tongue runs wild, a wanton killer. With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image. Curses and blessings out of the same mouth!

My friends, this can’t go on. A spring doesn’t gush fresh water one day and brackish the next, does it? Apple trees don’t bear strawberries, do they? Raspberry bushes don’t bear apples, do they? You’re not going to dip into a polluted mud hole and get a cup of clear, cool water, are you?

Yeah, the smallest but largest troublemaker in the entire world is the tongue. But it does not have to be a troublemaker! God can use our tongues to direct others into the way of life, and to delight them in the trials of life. The tongue is a little member, but it has great power.

Give God your tongue and your heart each day and ask Him to use you to be a blessing to others.

See You Sunday

~ Pastor Byron