Summary: If I were to ask you what the most powerful thing in the world is, what would you say? What if the most powerful thing in the world are our words? The words that we speak to each other.
Drop The Weight, The Tongue
Hebrews 12:1 says “Since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders, and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race set before us.”
If I were to ask you what the most powerful thing in the world is, what would you say?
You may say, “The most powerful animal in the world is the elephant, or maybe the whale. They’re pretty powerful.
Then you may think outside the animal kingdom, and think the most powerful thing in the world are the huge engines that drive the great ships like aircraft carriers. Or maybe the engines on the space shuttle, that enable the shuttle to break free from the atmosphere and soar into space.
Perhaps the most powerful thing in the world are nuclear tipped missiles that can be shot and then controlled by a pilot operating a joystick hundreds of miles away, with amazing accuracy! Missiles or bombs that can destroy cities, or lay waste to entire countries.
Or maybe we would need to think, not bigger, but smaller. Maybe the most powerful things in the world are germs and bacteria. That can now be released into the air or water and be used as a weapon of mass destruction.
Or is the most powerful thing in this world an illness, a disease that can ravage the body and destroy human lives, like cancer?
What if the most powerful thing in the world are our words? The words that we speak to each other.
When Dr. Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream.” His words brought hope to hundreds of thousands of people, across all sorts of cultural, and ethnic barriers. His words revealed his vision and transplanted it in the hearts of others, transforming their thinking, changing their perspectives.
JFK said “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
Those words impacted hundreds of thousands of citizens to move from consumers to contributors. They inspired others to volunteer and work on behalf of others for the betterment of the country.
Words can move us. Words like…
“I love you.” “I’m sorry.”
“I was wrong.” “I forgive you.”
“I am proud of you.”
When my father said, “I am proud of you.” I tried to remember what it was I had done that made him say those words. And I would try to repeat it. I wanted him to say those words to me.
Words can invoke deep feelings. Feelings of love, empathy, compassion, and feelings of anger, hate and bitterness.
Remember what we’d say when someone said something mean to us? “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.”
Remember that? Do you now know how untrue that is?
Words can leave deep and lasting wounds. Words like
“You’re a failure”
“You’re so stupid”
“I hate you”
“I’m ashamed of you.”
Our words can separate friendships, break apart families, demoralize churches, hurt people we are called to love.
James 1:19 says, “Be quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.”
I saw a modern translation of this verse on a bumper sticker. I read, “Engage brain before putting mouth in gear.”
It is so easy to hurt others with our words.
Moms and Dads, Husbands and wives, we can come home from work, grumpy and crabby and we walk into our house and what do we do, we yell at our spouse, we are short with them, and they have no idea why we are grumpy and crabby…
Our spouse, has inherited our grumpiness, we have passed it on to them, so they have a conflict with the oldest child. Who maybe is watching TV, or playing a video game, happy and content, and we walk in, “And will you clean this room! It is a wreck. If Jesus returned He would leave you behind, because he couldn’t find you in this room. Pick up your clothes…” And then we walk out of the room, leaving a hurt, angry, confused child in our wake.
So now the elder child goes over to the younger child who is in their own world, playing and having fun and they kick their toys and says, “Get these stupid things out of my way.”
The younger child now upset goes outside and kicks the dog!
The dog sees the cat and takes it out on the cat, the cat gets mad, comes in and pees in someone’s shoe!
Wouldn’t it just be easier if you came home mad and grumpy and just peed in someone’s shoe?
When we get upset and speak in anger and frustration we lose control, and we say things that cause lasting harm to others.