Sunday, July 27, 2008

STICKS AND STONES...July 26th weekly devotion

thank you for joining us for this weeks devotion. The words we speak are so powerful. I pray that God will speak to you thru His Word today...

Virtually everything that people perceive about us, revolves around words. God made the world with WORDS. He promised Abraham a land and a nation and made David the king with WORDS. And it was with WORDS that Jesus attracted large crowds, encouraged the weak, shamed the wicked, and taught us the meaning of God's kingdom. There is power in the WORDS that we speak!

Some people might think that Solomon is overstating his case in Proverbs 13:3. He says that the power of life and death is in the tongue. Foolish and sinful talk can start a path toward death. People are murdered over words. Words can literally decide survival or death to many...

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me".

What an incredibly famous saying but how terribly incorrect it is! Foolish words can lead to rejection, loss of a career, or the beginning of a feud. The FRUIT of wise words, however, can gain a friend, mend a broken marriage, secure a career or restore a relationship. Words can hurt and they do hurt. Not only the speaker, but the one who hears them.

In Gods Word, we see that Solomon compares the effect of destructive words to a sword. Literal death may result from harsh words over a long period of time. How long before these words would take residence and bring a slow death to you?

"You sure do have a big nose! Have you considered having that fixed?"

"I'm tired of the house always looking like a mess...can't you do anything right around here?"

"I asked for this report yesterday, I can't count on you for anything!"

"I told you to clean your room, I told your Mom you were good for nothing!"

The alternative to stabbing someone with words is to use words that heal. There are two steps to follow to use healing words: first, you must refuse to use hurtful words and secondly, speaking healing words means to look for opportunities to encourage and uplift. Just like the doctors who become skillful with their hands, so should followers of Christ - to become experts at encouraging!

A righteous man uses words to help others, to lift them up sincerely, and to promote humility. Protecting the reputation of others, giving out helpful knowledge, encouraging those who need it, speaking with modesty and being truthful and kind with our words will all bear fruit. Sure people are attracted to foul talk and gossip, however, when life gets serious, and when the rubber meets the road (so to speak), people would much rather have a friend they can trust and whose words are wise.

Last week in the YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I polled the readers and asked which verbal vice irritated them the most and the top 3 responses were:

1. 36% polled said that what irritates them is when someone uses insulting, denigrating language.

2. 27% of those polled said that people who spout off ill-informed opinions is irritating.

3. 18% said that talking negatively or using insincere flattering words really irritates them.

Clearly our tongue is one of the most powerful tools we have. God highly values words. The ability to speak is one of the things that we have in common with God; it is part of His image in us. Therefore, we are walking in His footsteps when we learn to use words to help and not to harm.

PROV. 12:14 "A man will be satisfied with good by the words of his mouth, and the work of a man's hands will reward him."

PROV. 12:18 "There is one who speaks rashly, like a piercing sword; but the tongue of the wise brings healing."

PROV. 13:3 "The one who guards his mouth protects his life; the one who opens his lips invites his own ruin."

PROV. 18:2 "A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions."

PROV. 18:18 "A gossip's words are like choice food that goes down to one's innermost being."

PROV. 18:13 "The one who gives an answer before he listens - this is foolishness and disgrace for him."

PROV. 18:21 "Life and death are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit."

PROV. 21:23 "The one who guards his mouth and tongue keeps himself out of trouble."

PROV. 29:5 "A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his feet."

James compares the tongue to the bit in a horse's mouth or the rudder of a ship (James 3:3-4). A horse is a large, magnificent animal controlled by a small rod in its mouth. Ships are even larger, yet they are controlled by a small rectangle called the rudder. Likewise, the tongue has so much influence (like the rudder or the bit) even though it is small in size.


do they encourage and uplift?
or destroy?

Consider the influence and power that your words have or better yet the POTENTIAL that your words have in someone's life today.

YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL: Please take time to cast your vote in this weeks poll (located on the side bar of this blog). This weeks question is: "What prevents you from being the best family member that you can be?" YOUR OPINION MATTERS!


Laura said...

Good post, Laurie! I pray all is well, and things are run smoothly for you this week. Take care! Laura

Darlene said...

Words do Kill! I wish I had read this earlier! My sister and I had a ugly word fight. She is 9 years older than me and we are both over 40. You think I would know better since I have been reading a book on the power of words. But, I fell into a trap that I am not proud of. Now PRIDE sets in on who should say sorry or if it will even be said. I did speak the truth to her..just maybe not in a nice way.
Thanks for the encouragement and reminder to be careful with my tongue!