James 3:5 – 6 (MSG) 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.
Have you ever been there? Someone chooses to use reckless words in the heat of an argument and you instantly feel the crushing blow to every fiber of your being. You feel so insignificant, so small, so cut down by the words someone else has spoken.
As I read the words of James chapter 3, I am reminded of what my tongue can actually do; even though it’s a small part of the body, it can make a huge impact – on everyone around me. Have you ever said something to someone and once the words were out, you wish you could take them all back? I sure have. I have carelessly used my words to inflict pain…and that is not the person God has called me to be. But, I guess in the heat of an argument it’s easy to spew angry and hurtful words at someone. Just because I’m angry doesn’t make the words less damaging. God’s word says “People speak the things that are in their hearts.” (Luke 6:45 NCV)
When I let my words carelessly “run rampant” it’s a display of those things that are in my heart.
What words have you said lately that don’t reflect the love of Jesus in your heart? Have your words been full of anger, jealousy, bitterness, rudeness, and gossip or have they encouraged those around you and brought glory to God?
I know I have set people “on fire” with the words that have hastily come out of my mouth…and that makes me sad. The last thing I want to do is bring a paralyzing blow with my words. I want my words to be full of love and life. When people hear me speak, I want them to hear the goodness and kindness of Jesus.
But how? I am hiding the God’s word in my heart (memorizing scripture) and praying that I can change the contents of my heart. I know that If I work toward replacing my thoughtless words with God’s word, I am disciplining myself to speak words of grace, truth and life.
Father, help me to hide your word in my heart so that when I speak, the words that flow will be full of love and grace. Forgive me for any careless word I have spoken to others. Help me to replace “words of death” with “words of life.” Amen
Proverbs 12:18 (NIV) The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.
Proverbs 15:4 (NIV) The soothing tongue is a tree of life, but a perverse tongue crushes the spirit.
Proverbs 18:21 (MSG) Words kill, words give life; they’re either poison or fruit—you choose.