Tuesday, July 9, 2002
Courtney is the daughter of one of our staff, and she had a miserable cold on her ninth birthday. So, no party, no "happy birthdays" at school. I gave her a quick call that day and I sang "Happy Birthday" to her - which may have made her sicker. But I wanted to do something to cheer her up a little that day. You know, it's tough to be sick on your birthday. Well, Courtney and her seven-year-old brother Eddie were in the office the other day. I joked with them and said, "I guess Courtney's still eight - 'cause if you're sick on your birthday, it doesn't count." Ha ha, very funny. That night as Eddie was wrapping up his day, he told his Mother, "Hey, guess what? Courtney isn't two years older than me after all!" When Mom asked why, Eddie said, "Because Ron said that if you're sick on your birthday, your birthday doesn't count!" He was serious.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "The Power Of Your Words."
How many times my wife has said to me, "I don't think you understand the power of your words." It isn't just me. I don't think most of us understand that power of our words in the lives of the people in our personal world.
God has certainly done His part to help us understand that power. For example, in Proverbs 18:21, He says, "The tongue has the power of life and death." We can, with the things we say, make someone either feel more alive or more dead inside. And you can tell we must not realize what our words can do - or else we wouldn't shoot off our mouth so often, we wouldn't say reckless things, we wouldn't make hurtful or critical or negative comments.
A Biblical case could easily be made that our mouth is actually the most sinful part of our body. We do more sinning probably with our tongue and with our words than with any other part of us. Your words leave an indelible impression, long after you've forgotten that you said them. The things you say can scar a person's worth for a long time to come as they rehearse over and over the name you called them or the accusation you made.
Your words can poison attitudes around you. They can damage someone's trust. They can wound love and create distance where there once was closeness. Your words can damage someone's reputation in a way that may never be repaired. They can spread a rumor that the truth will never catch. What you say will be quoted, remembered, and leaving marks for a long time to come.
So, our word for today from the Word of God in Psalm 141:3 becomes a prayer that some of us need to pray each new day, maybe several times a day. "Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips." Maybe that prayer should be up on the wall in your house, your office, on your telephone. We need to become much more careful about what we're saying, who's listening when we say it, how it could hurt the person we're talking to or talking about. We can't be content to just say, "Well, that's just the way I am," or "Well, you know, they're just being sensitive." We've got to set a guard in front of our mouth - to regularly ask God to help us control our often out-of-control tongue.
It's not just the people around us who are remembering our words. Jesus said, "Men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken." (Matthew 12:36) Don't ever forget the power of your words - to build or to destroy.