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The Power of Words

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We've all been there. Maybe an illness caused it. Maybe a late-night party caused it. Maybe it was due to allergies. But for some reason you lost your voice. Do you remember how frustrating it was? You wanted to communicate with your family, friends and coworkers but all you could do was to helplessly gesture or write down what you wanted to say.

If you've ever been a parent you know how frustrating it can be to have a baby. Sometimes babies cry and you just don't know why!We can't ask infants to tell us what's wrong; we have to try to figure it out. Imagine if your ability to communicate with words was taken away. Ack! We use words to communicate with our friends and family, at work, to sing, to educate our children and to ask for things. We also use words to understand each other.

People use approximately 16,000 words a day which works out to 112,000 words a week or about 5 million words each year. There's a lot of responsibility given to each of us to use those words to support, build up and encourage others.

Matthew 12:36 says, "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the Day of Judgment for every careless word they have spoken."

On a personal note, I can only imagine how long I'll be standing in front of our Lord trying to explain all the careless words I have spoken!

God did not give us the ability to communicate to harm people. He wants us to inspire others with what we write or say. Some might respond that what we say are "just words." They're just syllables. Sounds. But those words are an accurate reflection of what is in our hearts and minds.

God knows the way we speak to our co-workers and bosses. He hears the way we speak to strangers on the street. God remembers the angry words we yell while driving in traffic or are directed at our children in moments of frustration. He pours over the words we write on Facebook and Twitter. The emails we send.

Looking back on the Bible verse, Jesus doesn't say we will have to account for every word that we say but for "every careless word." Maybe when you yelled at your daughter for not cleaning up her room you didn't think it was that big of a deal. Maybe when you berated your husband for not taking out the trash you forgot all about your rant within minutes. Did you yell at or cuss out any drivers on the way to work this morning? Every word we have ever spoken has been significant, no matter how small we think it might have been. And our God who knows everything knows every word each of us has ever spoken.

I know a man who collects autographed photos. He has each one sealed in a special bag. Each photo is carefully stored in an archival box. These boxes are carefully set out of the way so the pictures are not bent or damaged and his children are not allowed to touch them. My friend would never think of leaving these photos lying on the floor. They are protected and cared for with a passion.

Why is it that we can be so careful with material things, but not as careful with the words we use?

Think for a moment who you talked to today. Your spouse. Your children. Your dog. Your boss. Your co-workers. The barista at Starbucks. The cashier at McDonald's. The produce manager at the grocery store. Of the 16,000 words we use every day, how many of those words glorify God or are in conversation with God?

Affirm others. Tell them when you see Jesus in them. Tell them you love them. Encourage others and remind them of God's goodness and promises. Help them persevere and continue to listen to God's words.

Give good advice. Pray for God's wisdom for both yourself and for others. Remember the bracelets that were popular a few years ago? WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? How would Jesus respond? What advice would Jesus give if he was here?

Words can and do change us. They can inspire us or encourage fear. They can give us wings to fly or derail our trains of thought. They can fuel our dreams or squelch our hopes. Challenge yourself each day to use your words for good, and not for evil.

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