Summary: Words have the power to hurt or heal... Our challenge is to speak wisely, kindly and positively.

Title: The Healing Power of Positive Words

Text: Proverbs 12:18, 15:4 and 16:24

Thesis: Words have the power to hurt or heal… Our challenge is to speak wisely, kindly and positively.

The Bible in 90 Days Whole Church Challenge Series

During the last six weeks we have read a sizeable portion of the Old Testament. When we read Genesis through Esther we were reading what may be thought of as historical literature… it was chronological and told the story of God’s dealing with his people. Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon are considered wisdom or poetic literature.

Today as we reflect from the book of Proverbs we are being instructed in how to live wisely, specifically in the words we speak.


Today we are going to be talking about the words we speak. We will talk about their power for good and for bad. We will talk about how our words can build-up and how our words can tear-down. Our words have the power to help and heal and they have the power to hurt.

I ran across a little story about how not to fill out an accident report taught by a driver’s education teacher. Here are some examples of “what not to say” when filling out an accident report:

• “In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.”

• “I thought my window was down, but I found out it was closed when I put my head through it.”

• The guy was all over the road. I had to swerve several times before I hit him.”

• “I had been driving for 40 years when I fell asleep at the wheel and had an accident.”

• “An invisible car came out of nowhere, struck my car and vanished.”

• “The indirect cause of the accident was a little guy in a small car with a big mouth.”

I like that… a little guy in a little care with a big mouth indirectly caused the accident. The words that come out of our mouths are packed with power sufficient to cause an accident or worse.

How can we learn to make sure that our words are packed with the “power of life” and not the “power of death?” Another way of asking the same question is:

How can we learn to ensure that our words bring healing and not hurt people?

I. Control your impulses and speak wisely

Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing. Proverbs 12:18

An elderly man had serious hearing problems for a number of years. His family tried again and again to convince him to get a hearing aid. Finally he relented and was fitted with a set of hearing aids restoring his hearing to 100%.

A month later he returned to doctor to have his hearing tested and the doctor said with a smile, “Your hearing is perfect. I bet your family is really pleased that you can hear again.”

The gentleman replied, “Oh, I haven’t told my family yet… I just sit around and listen and I’ve changed my will three times.”

Sometimes we are unwise in what we say and the little story makes an amusing point. The scripture also makes a pointed statement about the effects of our words on others.

A. Recklessly spoken words inflict pain and suffering.

Our text says that “reckless words pierce like a sword.”

Someone once said, “It’s nice to talk with people who can make a point without impaling anyone on it. “ Our words have the power to turn healthy people into hurting people.

There is also a more subtle observation about the people our words may affect.

B. Reflectively (Wisely) spoken words bring healing to the already hurting.

We need to discern when the people we are speaking to are already hurting and need to hear healing words and not words that inflict even greater hurt.

What can we do to learn to speak wisely?

1. Always ask God to help you guard your tongue. “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord, keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 14:3

2. Always think before you speak. “Intelligent people think before they speak; what they say is them more persuasive.” Proverbs 16:23

3. Always remember that your witness for Christ is on the line. “Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless.” James 1:26

How can we learn to ensure that our words bring healing and not hurt people?

• We learn to control our impulses and to speak wisely.

In addition to learning to control our impulses and how to speak wisely,

we also need to learn to conquer our bitterness and to speak kindly.

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