Words or Words?
by Carol Yasin
Recently, while reading the daily newspaper, my eyes got stuck on a particular page. I couldn’t take my eyes from it. It said, “An 18 year old boy committed suicide as his mother rebuked him, saying, ‘you are unfit to live’”. The reason for the scolding is his less mark. But he can’t get hold of the words of his mother in his heart, which took his life.
Words are more powerful than we sometimes realize. Words are the ‘image’ to our thoughts. Either positive or negative, the words take on a major role in one’s life. The word proceeds from our heart, as Jesus says in Matthew 15:18, “but the things that comes out of a person’s mouth come from the heart…”
There is a saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me”. Do you agree with that statement? Obviously ‘NO’. The Bible says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Another version says like this, “the tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences.” (Proverbs 18:21). Yes, our words can either build others up or shoot them down. It can express or repress, offend or befriend, affirm or alienates, build or belittle, comfort or criticize, destroy or delight. Abraham Lincoln once stated, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”
The Bible has tons to say about the words we speak and thus it makes the topic very important. We should be careful with ‘what we speak, to whom we speak and at what time we speak’.
Be careful with what you are speaking
I have experienced people talking without meaning in their words. Imagine yourself being in college. If somebody comes in and takes classes with the language you don’t know, how would you feel? You will either get angry or start joking over the person. That’s how our talk shouldn’t be. Our words should be meaningful. You should be clear in what you are talking. Don’t lose any careless words from your lip. Jesus warns us in Matthew 12:36, “But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the Day of Judgment”.
How our talks should be?
The Bible is an overall guide for us in this world. Whatever topic, you wanted to know, I guarantee you that you will find that topic in the Bible. What does the Bible say, how it should be when we talk to others? Let me put down some of the points,
- What we talk should be good and helpful (Ephesians 4:29). It will encourage others.
- Our words should be pleasant (Proverbs 16:24). It is pleasant to the person and brings health to the body. I know a doctor who is very kind in her words. Whenever I go to her regarding health issues, the way she speaks makes me feel better than the medicine she gives to me. That is the power of the pleasant words.
- Our answers should be gentle (Proverbs 15:1). It turns off the anger. I think back my college days when we went to our university to attend our off-campus. The individual who was checking our certificates was a very angry person. He was very much annoyed by the noise made by the students. The laughing and talking of the students made him mad. I am a much silent person (you have to believe). When my turn came, I was very silent, didn’t talk much to my friends, paid attention to him, and answered his questions quietly. He didn’t shout at me and he gave a smile to me and asked me to get inside. Then I understood the way we answer matters a lot while talking.
- Our words should be on time (Proverbs 15:23). It does matter what you speak at a particular time. You can’t go and discuss about a film you saw late night to your project manager when he asks you about the project details. When I lost my first child, around seven months, I was admitted in hospital. Right away, I got calls from some of my friends who cared for me and they had a word for me which soothed me in that situation and a friend from fellowship had a visit immediately and prayed for me. Those made me cry a lot and get out of the situation than keeping it within my heart. It was the time that mattered a lot when they spoke with me.
- Our words should be gracious and attractive (Colossians 4:6). The NKJV version says, ‘seasoned with salt’. Jesus requires us to be ‘salt of the earth’ in the Sermon on the Mount. The main quality Jesus mentioned in the Sermon of the Mount is that it adds flavor to the food. It enhances the taste of the food. Likewise, when we talk, it should have an impact in the life of the person. It should change them towards the One you serve.
- Our words should be pleasant (Proverbs 15:26). Our words should bring happiness to the one we talk. Not the jokes which we pick up nowadays. The jokes don’t qualify the other qualities which the Bible states. A joke was created to laugh in the earlier days, but the jokes we hear now makes our face to shy off from it. Our words should bring happiness in the soul of the person. He/She should feel better after that.
The Bible also says how our talks or words should not be?
- Don’t speak corrupt words (Ephesians 4:29)
- Don’t speak a harsh word (Proverbs 15:1)
- Don’t spread slander (Proverbs 10:18)
- Don’t speak a deceiving word (Proverbs 10:31)
- Don’t speak like a hypocrite (Proverbs 11:9)
- Don’t gossip (Proverbs 11:13)
- Don’t speak a word of pride (Proverbs 14:3)
- Don’t speak without thinking (Proverbs 29:20)
- Don’t spout off before you listen (Proverbs 18:13)
- Don’t speak dirty words (Colossians 3:8)
I have a small testimony to share. Once, I was renting a share-auto to go home from the stop where the office bus left me. The auto has no other person except a transgender. I was afraid seeing the person first. And so, when I was asked to pay by the auto driver, I didn’t have a change of rupees five. I was stuck with fear and didn’t have the courage to ask the person sitting with me. Seeing and realizing my condition that person named ‘Rajeshwari’ gave me the change. I was surprised and replied her, ‘thanks sister’. I saw tears flowing in her eyes. She was saying, ‘No one has called me as sister.’ That’s when I realized, we should be a salt in the society and not a sugar. I had courage to speak about the love of Christ when she asked me, ‘What made you to call me as a sister?”. I also counseled her not to beg around. After a few days, almost a month, I went to a bakery to get some snacks. To my surprise, I saw Rajeshwari there working as a maid servant to clean the bakery. We had a quick chat and left her saying, ‘bye’. Now, I don’t know where she is and what is she doing? But God has changed her life by a simple lovable word.
Remember to guard your mouth. Solomon says in Proverbs 13:3,
“He who guards his mouth preserves his life, but he who opens wide his lips shall have destruction.”
Remember to hold back, whether the words we speak is acceptable in the sight of the Lord as Psalmist says,
“Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in Your sight, O Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.” – Psalm 19:14
When you speak a word, just think a second, “Will you talk the same word to Jesus?” Trust me that actually have helped me to speak in a peaceful manner. I am an ordinary person who fails. But having Jesus with you makes your life change and the thoughts in your mind which reflects in changing your words. So set a guard over your mouth. (Psalm 141:3)
And remember, we can’t expect the same with others. We dwell in a world where we hear filthy language where we live by. But have Jesus as your filter. Have Him between you and the other person you talk. He will guide you to talk and He will not allow the filthy words spoken by others into your heart.
”Also do not take to heart what others say, Lest you hear your servant cursing you.” Ecclesiastes 7:21
Also, before we speak, let us ask our Father in Heaven what to speak, as Jesus did (John 12:49-50)
It’s so easy for us to tear down one another with our words. Our words can hurt or they can help. They can encourage or they can discourage. They can build or they can destroy. We know which God prefers. It is so true that, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Proverbs 18:21). James describes in his book, what to speak and how to tame our tongue. We will analyze this as a separate topic soon.
Let us determine which words to speak and which one not to? May God direct you with your words! God Bless!
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