Words. We know how much they can hurt; we know how good they can feel. Why are words so powerful? And why does the Bible warn us about them?
The power of words goes beyond you and me. At God’s word, the heavens came into being. At His word, we came to life. God’s word is all-powerful, but we too are warned about our words and the power they have to bless or curse others.
What Our Words Say about Us
The words we use reveal us on many levels. Jesus says the tree is known by its fruit, and that our mouths speak what’s in our heart. He explains further in Matthew 12:35-37:
The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.
If we gossip about or slander others, what does that say of our heart? We’re not perfect, but once we know that the words we speak into being come from somewhere so deep inside, we start to question ourselves. We start to understand our deep and desperate need for God.
10 Warnings about the Power Words
We need God’s help to have a pure (and purer) heart. In the meantime, these proverbs can shine a light on where we are in our walk.
1. Anyone who answers without listening is foolish and confused. (Prov. 18:13)
2. Whoever keeps his mouth and his tongue keeps himself out of trouble. (Prov. 21:23)
3. A brother who has been insulted is harder to win back than a walled city, and arguments separate people like the barred gates of a palace. (Prov. 18:19)
4. People will be rewarded for what they say; they will be rewarded for how they speak. (Prov. 18:20)
5. There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. (Prov. 12:18)
6. What you say can mean life or death. Those who speak with care will be rewarded. (Prov. 18:21)
7. A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. (Prov. 15:1)
8. Without wood, a fire will go out, and without gossip, quarreling will stop. (Prov 26:20)
9. The words of a good person are like pure silver, but an evil person’s thoughts are worth very little. (Prov. 10:20)
10. The poor beg for mercy, but the rich give rude answers. (Prov. 18:23)
The first verses you quote from Matthew always shock me because I have a tendancy to speak first, repent at leisure, especially when things aren’t going so well and I’m fed up so Number 7 I can relate to becuase the times I’ve actually thought prior to speaking have been when I’ve avoided the inevitable argument. When I just blurt out what’s going on in my head, that’s when the trouble starts!.
I’m aware of the power of gossip and have been hurt by it in the past, even from Christians so even now, I still carry the scars by being wary of what others are thinking. In addition, there are two ladies I work with who have caused trouble by being gossips and they make me angry because of the chaos they leave in their path. Unfortunately, anger isn’t really helpful in this situation.
You know me, I like to be honest!!
So once again, a reminder, powerful one, of the power of words. Equally there is the power of positive words. A friend of mine has often advocated making declarations over oneself and others from God’s Word. This can be more powerful than we know.
Man of God says
The flesh is sinful but God gives power to control. Words we speak we must think of the sides choices before speaking. We are free more agents,think wisely.
Jennifer Johns says
No doubt — It’s so important to bless our loved ones and others… even when it seems “hard” to bend. Two reminders I really like:
“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” (Romans 12:14)
“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
Yes the power of Words. It’s been a season of learning to hold back, not speak and listen. Let God act first, just ‘chill’ and wait it out. At other times to speak out words of life and truth and praise – even (especially) when not feeling it.
Speaking encouragement and hope.
Thanks for the reminders and the Biblical backing – so true, so powerful.
Ouch! 🙂 Lisa~
Jennifer Johns says
Hope this didn’t scare anybody! I love how Proverbs provides this kind of wisdom… great ways to help us reflect and pray for transformation. I often forget how much weight the power of words carries.
ROSETTA SAVANA says
life bring good and bad life has made me stronger in my mind and god is on my shoulder on today 10 14 12
Letitia Spitty says
Thanks for sharing…had and have to remind me of God’s warnings. I was commenting, using God’s word, on my niece’s Facebook post for something she had written about someone. It’s sad to see so many young people today throw around words like nothing. May the Lord help us, and me, in really heeding these warnings. Again, thanks for sharing. God bless!
Jenn Johns says
Thank you! We all need these reminders. I’m always blessed reading Proverbs… we have to keep sharing with our younger generations so they know God gives us the right heart to speak words that lift up others. God bless you too!
joel johnson says
Thanks for sharing this wait us
isaac oluyamo says
Thanks for your messages
arun kumar says
Gary Schelvan says
Hello at your ministry,
I am excited about signing up for your ministry, look forward to it very much. This topic is so very dear to my heart, as I believe so strongly that words have such power to either lift a person up, or to beat down that same person. The words that we speak to another person or about another person should always edify that person, lift them up with encouragement. Yes there is a time to constructively critisize another person, but it should always be done in love, to do our best to leave the other one a better human being.
It’s like my mom and dad taught us 4 boys in America growing up, “If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say it at all.” Amen
Jenn Johns says
You are so right… and what a blessing to be a blessing to others. Our words really do reveal us. God bless.
Robert Farmilo says
I am writing an article on the power of words, and wanted to get a Biblical perspective on this subject. So I found your website, and this article. I am becoming ever more conscious of the power of my words, and the words of other people. And I know that when I ask God to help me speak according to God’s will…that this truly helps me to speak with words that help…and sometimes this means I don’t speak, at all. Here is a link to the blog I write:
Very well said. Thanks!
Robert Farmilo says
Boy did I need to read this article that you have written. It has helped to give me a reboot on my own sharpened tongue. The last several weeks, I’ve been plowing through the book of Job in the Old Testament, Holy Bible. It is a treasure of poetry filled with tribute to suffering…and one man’s attempt to make sense of the senseless. Basically he wants to die but refuses to pull the cosmic trigger by cursing God. Here is a fine example of the poetry that I mention: “Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.” (Job 9:31) It’s even better in Spanish: “Aún me hundirás en el hoyo, Y mis propios vestidos me abominarán.”
By the way, I found your blog because the url showed up as a referring url on my Blogger site. Thanks for the visit.
All the Best!
Jenn Johns says
Thanks for dropping by and sharing this insight Robert. God bless!
sunny ngwoke says
You have added something very rich to my life thanks
Terry Thompson says
LESS IS BEST! Especially when it comes to our words. If you really think about it, pride and being self-centered has a lot to do with our speaking, (wanting to let others know what we have to say on the subject, occasion, etc…) If we truly Believe in God, we need to Believe God from the words of his owner’s manual.
Jenn Johns says
I agree Terry! Less is best… and as a person who likes to talk, I think that was a good reminder for me today 🙂 God bless you
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