The Weight of Words

Words are powerful.

Ever since the beginning of Creation, words have been used to speak things into existence, whether through physical manifestation from God Himself, or through the manifestation of ideas and thoughts from the minds and mouths of humans. Since we are all created in the divine image of God, we are capable of using words in powerful ways, even though we are drastically limited by our fallen, sinful state.

How we use our words, however, is a choice, given to us by God with the gift of free will.

This gift of free will is a privilege our Creator gave us to use with wisdom, as our words and actions directly affect every aspect of our lives. We should choose our words carefully in every situation, because they can have positive or negative effects on the people around us. As believers in Christ, we are endowed with the sacred duty of showing God’s love to others in our lives, no matter who they might be. The words we say can be some of the most potent tools in our collection to spiritually benefit others, or they can become deadly weapons if they are used selfishly in the flesh.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why we should exhibit the greatest care and caution when choosing our words:

  1. They directly reflect the spiritual condition of our hearts.

The words we say to others, whether they are spoken or written, show the contents of our minds and hearts. As Christians, we are tasked with the responsibility to show the fruits of the Spirit. When we are producing the fruits of the Spirit like we’re supposed to, people will know that we are rightly related to God in our personal walk with Him. When we are right with God in our hearts, the fruits of the Spirit will be produced naturally, and the words that flow from us will freely show His influence in our lives. Apart from God, we can do nothing on our own; in Him we live, move, and have our being. Therefore, it is only natural that we should turn to Him daily to help us govern the words that proceed from our minds and mouths. With the help of the Holy Spirit, we can change the course of someone’s day, or even their life itself, if we choose our words carefully with God’s love and wisdom. The fruits of the Spirit are unmistakable, while it is also very telling when they are missing in a person’s life. If someone is choosing to use his or her words out of the selfishness of his or her flesh, he or she is missing out on the daily opportunity to be a blessing to someone else around him or her. Rather than benefiting themselves by using their words selfishly, they are depriving themselves of having a profound impact as a positive influence in another person’s life. Rather than choosing the option of showing God’s love to others with his or her words, the selfish person is taking the opposite approach by becoming a negative influence in someone’s life with his or her words. We never know just how much influence we may have on another person, so it is absolutely imperative that we exercise loving wisdom and discretion with the words we say. All this is because…

2. The words we say or write cannot be easily erased or forgotten.

Just as we never know how much influence we might have on another person, we also never know just how long the words we say might stay in someone else’s mind. If we use our words to encourage someone else when they need our help, we can potentially cause them to be inspired and not give up. As a result of our caring words towards them, they may remember us later on in a special way, as the person who was there for them when they truly needed us the most. No greater honor can be bestowed upon someone than being another person’s friend in a time of need. Even if we are not remembered for our kind words in the future, God remembers our efforts to show His love to other people in our lives, and that’s all that really matters anyway. However, if we are careless with what we say, especially when deliberately acting out of a selfish heart, we can cause irreparable damage to someone else’s very heart, mind, and soul. The old saying about “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is a LIE. Words DO hurt, because they not only come from inside our heart and mind, but they also reach directly into other people’s hearts and minds. Even if we say something hurtful to someone and apologize for it afterwards, they might never forget what you said, even if they choose to forgive you. Even if trust and peace is somehow eventually restored, the damage has already been done, and that person’s mind and heart will probably take years to recover from the emotional injury. Apologies and forgiveness might be given, but words can never be taken back once spoken. The things we say can have a lasting impact on the world around us, for better or for worse. We may eventually forget what we said, but the words we choose will follow us wherever we go. This also includes the fact that…

3. The words we speak echo into the halls of eternity.

The Bible tells us that we will have to give a personal account to God Himself for “every idle word” someday, when we each stand before Him. If God cares about all the little careless things that come out of our mouths every single day, imagine how much He cares about all the rest of the things we say. We should never take our words lightly, even the ones that were spoken in haste, because our words are serious business to God. Surely, the One Who created the human tongue, heart, and mind cares greatly about all the thoughts that proceed from them! How foolish are we to assume that God doesn’t care about the things we say, when we are created in His divine Image! As Scripture informs us of the truth that our bodies are bought with a price, that also includes our hearts, minds, and mouths. Therefore we should take extra care and concern with whatever comes out of our lips, regarding the things we say to other people. While we will not be condemned for whatever we have already confessed to Him, we should still strive to be conscientious about any other areas that may have escaped our awareness. While this is not meant to make us paranoid, it is simply a truth that should make us more sober minded once we realize that each and every one of us will have to face our Creator before eternity.

Here are some of God’s own Words that prove He cares greatly about the weight of the words we say:

Numbers 23:19 – “God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?”

Proverbs 18:21 – “Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof.”

Ecclesiastes 5:4-6 – “When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands?”

Matthew 5:37 – “But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.”

Matthew 12:33-36 – “Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things. But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

John 1:1 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

Galatians 5:22-25 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.”

Ephesians 4:29-32 “Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.”

Colossians 3:8-10 – “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:”

1 John 4:19-21 – “If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.”

1 John 1:5-10 – “This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”

As you can see, the words we say do indeed have weight to them, and we should always do our best to handle them with care.

Our words matter. Words have meaning, or else they wouldn’t exist; there wouldn’t be any reason to use them otherwise. Without meaning and purpose, why would we need them? Regardless of whether or not we always mean the words we say, they still always retain their inherent meaning. God knew that in order to interact with His special creation made in His divine Image, it would be necessary to bless man with the gift of human speech. This priceless gift allows us to communicate with others, a privilege that no other part of Creation has been given. We are capable of intelligent thoughts, and have the abilities to communicate effectively if we choose to use this gift the right way. Communicating with other people is a special ability that should never be taken for granted; it should be treasured as a valuable way to interact with other beings created in God’s likeness.

Sadly, because of the first sin of mankind in the Garden of Eden, the special gift of communication has been corrupted since the conclusion of Creation. Each and every day, we have a choice to make – we can use our words either to bless or curse people. As children of God, we have a responsibility to not only bear His divine Image, but also to showcase our Christlike testimony through the help of the Holy Spirit. It is our own free will, a God-given privilege, that allows us to make this choice whenever we verbally interact with others. We are bound by the blood of Christ to show compassion to other people, since the words we say ring hollow when we don’t reflect His love in our hearts. Since human hearts are extremely fragile, it is our duty, especially as Christians, to weigh our words carefully, lest we run the risk of shattering someone else’s soul.

– Gloria D. Hopkins

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