If you think back over your life, you can see the power of words.
Words have the power to create stories, to crush or move dreams forward. Words have the power to create futures.
Because words are powerful.
Words mark us.
As we saw on Sunday as we continued our series at CCC, The Best of You, the words of others create identities for us that are life-giving or negative.
We give so much power to the words of others.
The problem, though, is that most of our interactions tend to the negative side of words rather than the positive.
Proverbs 18:21 says The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.
We know this is true because we have all had words spoken to us that have brought life and lifted us, but we’ve also been the recipient of words that have brought us death and have torn us down.
We know the power of words, but often we underestimate their power in our lives.
We’ll often do that by explaining it away: they didn’t mean it that way. We’ll say to someone, that’s not what I meant when I said that. We’ll shrug and tell a counselor; it wasn’t a big deal when they said that. We’ll say, “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will _____.” That’s not true. They hurt deeply.
If you deflect and say, “what they said to me isn’t a big deal,” you need to pay attention to what you explain away or deflect.
So what words bring life? What words bring death?
Paul tells us in Ephesians 4:29, 31 that we are to let no unwholesome talk come out of our mouths. The word for unwholesome talk carries the same idea of rotting food. If you’ve smelled spoiled milk or food, you know what that feels like.
Then he tells us that we shouldn’t use words of bitterness, rage, anger, slander, brawling, and malice.
This is an extensive list.