Words To Harm or Words to Heal?

Psalm 1:2 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

Psalm 119:97  97 O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day.

Jeremiah 15:16 16 Your words were found and I ate them, And Your words became for me a joy and the delight of my heart; For I have been called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.

bible page on gray concrete surface

This morning I spoke to the upper grades at CCA Life Fellowship from James 3:1-12.  There, James teaches about the power of our words – particularly when they are used for destructive ends.  He compares the tongue to a forest fire, an untamable wild animal, and a polluted spring.  If you’ve ever been the victim of gossip, slander or ridicule (or the offender for that matter), you know how right James is.  Our words have a powerful influence, and when mingled with sinful motives, they have tremendous power to harm.  James is confronting young churches (cf. James 1:1, 2:2) experiencing problems with conflict, competition, slander and judgmentalism – all born along on the train of sinful speech (3:1, 14-16; 4:1, 11).  However, the opposite is true regarding words of love.  Encouraging words flow from Christ-like character.  James 3:13 Who among you is wise and understanding?  Let him show by his good behavior his deeds in the gentleness of wisdom. 

Furthermore, the book of Proverbs abounds with description of the power of wise words.   Proverbs 10:20 The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver, The heart of the wicked is worth little. 

Proverbs 12:18  18 There is one who speaks rashly like the thrusts of a sword, But the tongue of the wise brings healing.

Proverbs 15:2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge acceptable, But the mouth of fools spouts folly.

Proverbs 15:4 A soothing tongue is a tree of life, But perversion in it crushes the spirit. 

Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones. 

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.

Righteous words bring healing?!  They are a tree of life?!  Death and life are in the power of the tongue?!  Wow! Those are powerful outcomes.  I find, if I become flippant or casual in my speech, typically I’m also forgetting just how influential my words can be.

I’ve been reminded by this study that no one exemplifies this truth more than God Himself.  Through His inspired written Word, and through the words spoken by His incarnate Word – Jesus; God speaks to us the sweetest, truest most comforting way imaginable.  As the perfect Husband comforts his wife; as the perfect Father instructs his children, even so God’s Words bring healing to our souls.  His gentle rebuke brings wisdom.  His Law brings understanding.  His Gospel brings joy.  This is the connection that God makes personally with the believer as we incline our ears and hearts to listen to His voice.  David says in Psalm 1 it is the godly man’s delight.  In Psalm 119 it is his love!   And poor, struggling Jeremiah composes his soul by devouring God’s Word in the midst of Jerusalem’s disaster (Jer. 15:16).  It became to him “the joy and delight of his heart.”

If you’re presently being mistreated by others… if you’re tired of hearing the same sin-laden sarcasm…  find refuge in God’s pure words.  They are sweetness to the soul and life to the bones.  They are words of love.

Thanks!  See you Sunday,

Pastor Dave

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