The Power of Words

Read: James 3:1-12

From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (v. 10)

Have you ever said something in anger or frustration and immediately regretted it? If only there was a rewind or delete button on our mouths! So many hurt feelings, awkward situations, and difficult moments could be avoided if we could just remember to think first and speak second.

James must have recognized this as an issue among the believers to whom he was writing, referring to the tongue as a small fire capable of setting an entire forest ablaze. What an incredibly accurate portrayal of the damage words spoken in haste can do. Just as a forest fire can quickly spread and become uncontrollable, so can our words when not considered carefully. Think of the damage of gossip and arguments in your family, church, or neighborhood.

James also observed the danger of insincerity, that is, when both blessing and curses come from the same person. This includes the words we speak to ourselves and to God! God calls us to something better: sincere and loving speech. Words intended to lift up, strengthen, and embolden can set ablaze a forest fire of positivity. Just like the rudder of a ship or the bit in a horse’s mouth, words that encourage can steer someone to new heights of confidence and faith. Words have power, so choose wisely. —Bill Rumbaugh

As you pray, ask God to allow you to see the effect of your words on those around you, including yourself.

About the Author

Bill Rumbaugh is a retired pastor living in Manchester, Maryland.

This entry is part 5 of 8 in the series Day to Day Advice from James