Monday, February 7, 2011

The power of words

In Genesis 1:1-25 we read that God spoke and the material world came into existence. The creation account in many ways can simply be considered a series of divinely spoken, powerful words.

In the New Testament the apostle James warns how evil man's words can be (James 3:1-12). So he admonishes us to tame our tongues. And while his allegories about the power of our tongues seem exaggerated, we know from experience that what James wrote is true. Man's words can be powerfully destructive.

In both cases, we conclude that words are powerful. With words we create new worlds in people's imagination (think of Lord of the Rings or any other novels that you've read). With words we instill desires into people's hearts (remember all the clever advertising tag lines logged in your subconscious?). With words we can either soothe or cause pain (consider the effect parents' words have had on their children). With words we can create hope in desperate times or despair in idyllic circumstances (who hasn't been affected this way by a spouse or good friend?).

It's easy to forget the influence of our words, but we are held responsible for them. Didn't Jesus say that we will have to give account on judgement day for every careless word we have spoken? (Matthew 12:36-37)

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