“Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts…. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be.”— James 3:5a, 9-10
I watch and listen, with probably much of the world, at the continuing escalation of words between President Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un. My reflection here is not meant to be political, only an observation about the effects of the battle of words. Who knows where a few words and name-calling will take our countries, and our allies and the rest of the world?
My high-schoolers tell me about fights at school, drag-down, fist-fights that begin in the lunch room or school hallways. Boys against boys, girls against girls, that often begin with words uttered, spewed, yelled, texted, or whatever. Every day, countless souls use words to manipulate and control. To lift up and tear down. And none of us are innocent.
Words have power. Words have power to heal and love, and words have power to kill and destroy. I know I have used words that have brought love, grace, healing, and joy to others. I have also used words that have hurt feelings and caused division and did not bring life. The internet, social media, TV, movies, sports culture, music, and everywhere else we look reveals people who may or may not understand the power of words. Or, it reveals people who understand it too well, and use it as a weapon.
I liked the verse from James (above). It reminds me how easily my words can praise or curse, lift up, or tear down. Wisdom is knowing how to use our words to bring life. God’s Word does that for us, and can be an example of how to use our words to treat others.
Proverbs 10:19 says, “When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise.” I think that is a very good reminder for me and my words. I can be wise when I choose to hold my words inside.
How can you tame the “Battle of Words” down in a situation in life this week? How can you use words to lift up, not tear down? These are questions I will ponder, and I hope you will too!
Prayer— “God of words, you created us to speak. Teach us how to use words wisely, to build up and bring life. Forgive us for the many ways we use our words to tear down, and use us to bring words of life to someone this week. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”