Words Matter

James 3:2 says, “For we all stumble in many ways. And if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body.” He then goes on to talk even more about our tongue. He says it is like a rudder of a ship, and that it is like a small spark that blazes a forrest fire. I think we can all agree that we have seen the truth of these words play out on our television screens and in our social media feeds over the last several weeks. Whether you believe the former President incited a mob or not, that really isn’t the point. The point is, our words carry meaning and power. As James says, our words can bless or curse, but they shouldn’t do both. But this isn’t just about a politician, this is about your words and my words. No, we may not have a podium with a seal and a national audience, but there are still people who listen to us, and that we influence. We have to know that there is a time for fiery rhetoric or exaggeration, and there is a time to be measured and straightforward. I will admit, that I sometimes forget that line, and I step across the line. Sometimes, I allow the events of the day to shape my interactions with my family when I get home. Then, there are times in which I feel like I need to say something, when in fact it would be best if I just stayed silent. I try to remind myself of Proverbs 10:19, “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent.” Solomon there is reminding us that the more we talk, the more likely we are to sin. However, when we show restraint and don’t constantly keep our mouth open, we are less likely to do lasting damage. I think of the parent who constantly yells at their child or is constantly critical of them. While they may believe they are helping the child, they are in fact doing the exact opposite. There are times in which someone has hurt us, and in our hurt we want to lash back at them. In those times may we remember Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” I forget where I read it, but I saw something that said, “when the heart is hurting it is best to keep the mouth closed.” There is a lot of wisdom in that. Of course, one thing that has been very prevalent over the last couple of weeks are conspiracy theories. Again, Scripture has something to say to this, “The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour our folly” (Prov. 15:2). There are other verses that speak of not telling and re-telling “fables and wives tales.” It doesn’t mean don’t read stories, it means to watch what you accept as fact and repeat as fact. This has greatly concerned me the most in the church. I have watched with a saddened heart over the last couple of weeks, people of a strong faith spouting off various conspiracy theories or repeating predictions from a supposed “prophet.” What happens when we give in to this is we weaken our witness to a lost world. When we follow a false prophet or repeat their dubious claims, we call into question the truthfulness of Scripture in people’s minds. When we spend more time debating politics on social media than we do praying for and looking for ways to share the Gospel with people in person or on social media, we are allowing Satan to distract us from our mission. It’s not wrong to speak up when politics intersects the Bible and our faith. However, we must ask ourselves, do people know who we are for or just what we are against? Have they heard the truth about their eternal reality without Jesus, or have they just heard my thoughts on the politics of the day? The truth is, we only have so much time in our life to speak truth into people’s lives, and we can’t afford to waste that time. A person can go to heaven if they disagree with us politically, but they have truly surrendered to King Jesus. However, they can’t go to heaven if they haven’t surrendered to King Jesus. Therefore, which do you think is more important for us to share?

Let’s use our words to encourage and to build one another up. Let’s use our words to speak truth into people’s lives. Let’s use our words to tell them about the Gospel and King Jesus. As Paul said in Ephesians 5, “let us redeem the time, because the days are evil.”

By His grace and for His glory,

Pastor Justin

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