Only the Father of lies could come up with that old whopper about sticks and stones breaking bones but words being powerless to hurt us. Isn’t it astounding that people bought into that one? I mean what an easy victory for the enemy! But even though it’s been many years since I tried to apply that ridiculous little jingle to my tongue-induced wounds, I continue to be struck by the truth of the exact opposite message, the message of the Bible, the message that words are incredibly powerful, especially words that are spoken. (See Proverbs 16:24 and James 3:3-12)
I just finished Beth Moore’s Believing God 10-week Bible study. I cannot recommend it highly enough, and it’s available online. http://www.lifeway.com/believinggod/ Grab a few friends for accountability and do it! You won’t be disappointed. The study is foundational and profound at the same time, which is truly a feat. The overarching themes are basic to the Christian faith, but Beth Moore takes it deep with probing questions and personal examples, and of course, the entire study is drawn from the Bible itself.
One of my favorite parts of Believing God was on the power of the spoken word. She said, “I believe, therefore I speak.” Again, it is simple, yet profound. It really got me thinking about how little I talk about what I believe. Sometimes my reluctance stems from the fact that I don’t want to hold myself out as example, “prone to wander” as I am. But that’s another great tool for the enemy. After all, if we waited until we were perfect to share our faith, no one would ever share anything. And as Ravi Zacharias is fond of saying, Christ didn’t die to make bad people good, but to make dead people live! So I’m embracing a new willingness to share my faith and God’s great faithfulness to me. Hence, this here blog!
But the power of words isn’t just a spiritual principle. I mean of course God spoke creation into existence, and as Romans 10:9 states, I’m saved by confessing with my mouth that Jesus is Lord, but the spoken word also gets you married. It is with your voice you plead guilty or innocent in a court of law. With my voice, my spoken word, I became a member of the Virginia bar. At our baby dedications, I promised with my voice to raise the boys in a God-fearing, Christ-centered home. We take oral agreements very seriously. We may commit the most binding contracts to writing, but when someone goes back on their word, we feel a keen sense of disappointment.
Even in day to day life the spoken word has a mysterious strength that the written word lacks. We sign our most insignificant notes and emails with love. Yet how often do you tell that same person that you love them? I know you can picture a thank you note that says something like “Love, Sally,” and yet you are certain Sally has never told you that she loves you. And how great is it to hear, instead of read, that someone loves you. Are there warmer words in the English language than “I love you”?
So it might be a bit ironic that the topic of this first-ever blog is the power of the spoken word, but I am praying that this writing will encourage you to think about the power of the words you speak. Maybe you will even call Sally and tell her that you love her.