Our Words Matter
Read James 3:2
"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."
What have you been saying lately? Has your speech been filled with sarcasm and cynicism or with positive and encouraging statements?
The Bible has a lot to say about the way we talk. It's not too surprising either, because all of us at one time or another have been hurt by the words of another person. It's probably also true to say that we have hurt someone else with what we say. It's bad enough when someone intentionally lashes out at another person, but have you noticed how incredibly easy it is for something to accidentally slip out of our mouths.
This isn't just a phenomenon of our modern social age, where practically anyone on earth can talk to anyone else. Even in the Bible times people were having trouble holding their tongues. "Do you see a man who is hasty in his words? There is more hope for a fool than for him" (Proverbs 29:20, ESV). That's Solomon's way of saying "think before you speak."
Did you hear a piece of information that you just know everyone will want to hear? Think first. Who does the information involve? Would they prefer the information be kept secret for now? More importantly, are you being a good witness for Christ by sharing this information. Following this advice will keep us from gossiping, but it will also keep us from saying something we'd end up regretting.
Words also have the power to inspire people. "Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body" (Proverbs. 16:24, ESV). Can you remember a time when you were depressed, and someone came along and gave you a word of encouragement? That sense of happiness is what Solomon's talking about here. An encouraging word given at just the right time can do wonders for a person.
Lord, please guard and guide my words. Let my speech encourage others and bring glory to You. Amen.