The Power of Words

The Power of Words

The Power of Words                       James   3:5b-12  

Sometimes I think we forget that the things we say and how we say them can have a real effect on people for good or for ill.  Words can be powerful, especially in this day and age when words can get amplified by the internet and can go viral on social media.  Because of this I sometimes wish certain people, especially those with public influence, would take more seriously the potential impact of the messages they send and things they say.  I wish they would be more careful with their words and that there might be more public accountability when the things that they say are detrimental to the health of the community and are hurtful in nature.

James talks about the power of words in his letter in the Bible.  He says, “How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire.”  He goes on to say, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so.”  James knows about the negativity that can come with destructive words.  Because he is aware of this he gives a strong caution to his listeners that the things they say have the power to help or to harm, they can heal and they can hurt.

What would it mean for us to take James’ warning to heart?  What would it mean for us to be more careful about how we used our words on the phone, email, and social media? What if politicians, pundits, and pubic figures were more accountable and honest about the power of their words?  What if instead of allowing their mouths to curse they were more focused on blessing?  How would that affect our wider culture?

-Pastor Erik Goehner