Summary: A message on the power of the tongue.
The Power of the Spoken Word
The Weight of Your Words in a Conscience-less Society
Okay. Before we get started, let’s agree that we all have the same problem. I don’t want to see anyone elbowing their neighbor, nor do I want anyone to standing up in their chair, pointing and yelling across the room—that’s you! No, we are all guilty. We pilgrims on a shared pathway. We are all like the whale, every time we spout off, we take a chance of getting harpooned.
The tongue is a fascinating muscle. With it, our taste-buds bring us pleasure by informing our minds if something is sweet or sour, spicy or bitter. It allows to shape our thoughts from mere sounds into specific words. Words which are useful in expressing genuine emotions and pertinent information. Fact is, without the ability to communicate, our civilization would be doomed. Unfortunately though, because of our tongues, life can be sabotaged and pain can be inflicted. Our tongues reveal one other thing about ourselves, it reveals our inner person. Tommy Nelson says that “the tongue is the bucket that dips into the well of a person’s heart.” Someone once made the erroneous statement that "stick and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me." The truth is, "stick and stones may in fact break bones, but words can crush a spirit, assassinate a character and destroy a relationship. James says that our tongues, though it is small, that it is like a fire and that it can quickly get out of control and destroy anything in it’s path. For example, back in 1871, a small spark in the O’Leary barn in Chicago set a blaze that engulfed the entire city that left 100,000 homeless, killed another 300, destroyed 17,500 building and incurred approximately $400 million dollars in damages. Thus, while we have the ability to bless God and others with our tongue, we also have the ability to spew venom and destroy lives.Let’s consider our culture for a moment. From Jerry Springer to Jenny Jones, from the locker room to the playing field, from our homes to our schools we are getting ambushed by the weight of our words. Each and every day people are abusing one another by the selection of the words. We have become quite adept at talking trash and maliciously slandering one another for the sake of esteeming ourselves. But what is worse, some of us verbally abuse one another simply for pleasure of it—we enjoy hurting others. We go out of our way to find a fault in someone’s appearance in order that we may cause a rift in that person’s soul. And for what reason...to cause them harm. It is no wonder that the Bible addresses the use of our tongues so often. Jesus spoke a great deal on the use of this tiny muscle, because he knew the wealth of it’s power.I remember one time while serving as a student minister in Richmond, VA having to impose a NO SLAMMING rule because of the damage our students were inflicting upon one another. Our group was paralyzed by the gossip, slandering, back-biting and lying. I remember telling them that the last place where they should have to deal with this torment was at the church. Yet for some of them, because of the lostness and carnality of the people within the church, it was often the greatest place of insult. The truth is, it is a crying shame when the people of God speak as though they were speaking on behalf of the devil.Over the next two weeks we are going consider the power of our words by seeking to expose the tongue and by devising a plan for taming it and using it for the glory of God. Hopefully, after we have finished these two lessons, each of us will become much more aware of the value of our words and that we will better acquainted with how to measure them before we say them.
A few years ago, my wife began to challenge me on this issue. Like most of you I have a problem with my words. Sometimes I simply speak before I think. Sometimes, when I have room, I’ll try to get both feet in my mouth instead of just one of them. Thus, much to her credit and more to my dismay, she had me memorize a verse from the book of Proverbs—"He who guards his lips guards his life, but a man who speaks rashly will come to ruin." I tell you this because I am a fellow pilgrim. I struggle with the best of them in using my words to honor rather than to destroy. Like yourself, I am often horrified at the things that leap of my tongue and shimmy by my teeth and escape past the gauntlet of my lips only to get airborne like an infectious disease. Thus, much like Tommy Nelson says of Solomon and his ability to teach us about love, sex, dating and romance because he had 600 wives and concubines, who better to teach on the issue of the taming the tongue than someone like myself who seemingly spends more time undoing what has been spoken rather than enjoying what has been said. I.