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#115: The Impact of our Words

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Download a free copy of "25 Recommended Resources for Spiritual Growth.On October the 8th, 1871, a cow belonging to Catherine O’Leary kicked a lantern in the barn and set some hay on fire. Within minutes, the entire barn was ablaze, and due to the high winds, the flames ended up spreading throughout the city of Chicago. The fire burned a large percentage of the city, leaving 100,000 people homeless, 7500 buildings destroyed, and the deaths of 300 people.Imagine, all this devastation started with one small act, the accidentally knocking over a a small lantern. The flicker of a flame impacted a large percentage of the city.“the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and it itself set on fire by hell.” (James 3:5-6)James teaches us here that the damage a tongue can cause is like the damage caused by the spark that starts a forest fire. This is a good comparison and here’s why.The damage the tongue causes is WIDE RANGING….like a spark that starts a fire that spreads across hundreds of miles, a word spoken in one place can hurt someone far away like an arrow or a sniper’s bullet.It’s also UNCONTROLLABLE like a fire. You can’t stop its spreading. How about gossip? Once words of gossip leave our mouths they take on a life of their own.And like a forest fire, words are incredibly DESTRUCTIVE. I have never known anyone who has not at some time been wounded because of something someone else said. WORDS hurt-they WOUND-and in way that is much more painfully destructive than actual physical wounds.Proverbs 15:4 is true when it says, “The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”Here are a couple of ways the Bible teaches us that our words have power to destroy:oWords that are untrueOur words have power to destroy when the lines are blurred between falsehood and truth. God gave King Solomon a list of seven sins he hates the most. Two of them were “a lying tongue” and “a false witness.”When we are tempted to lie we must remember that lying is the very opposite of God’s character. James has told us that God is truth and he “does not change like shifting shadows.”oWords that are unkind They can lower morale. They can destroy the character of an innocent person. Think about the impact of Slander. Complaining. Condemning. Cynical words promote doubt and disbelief. Negative words lead to discouragement and depression. Relationships can be poisoned by the right words slipped into someone’s conversation. How can we honor God with our words?Ephesians 4:29 – “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” Consider using your words to:•Praise and Worship•Encourage someone•Offer kindness•Be gentle in your words•Believe is someone’s dream•Offer to pray for someone•Share the good news about JesusYou can use your words to bless, inspire, challenge, and uplift someone today.Today’s Challenge: Pray this prayer - “Purify us and forgive us for the many times we have used our words to sin. And then God, I ask that You would empower us to use our tongues in ways that will help and not hurt Your kingdom. As David says,”… May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord.”