WEIGH YOUR WORDS!
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Recently I was in a man's home and there was also a young lady who was in that home too. One evening, the lady failed to carry out a duty and this annoyed the house owner who made only two sentences that was enough to change the mood of the house. I was shocked by those words and I turned to look at the lady those words were directed at and I observed how quickly sadness overcame her happy face. I could notice the agony she felt as the words tormented her. I could sense anger build up in her and if it were not for the fact that she wanted to remain respectful to this man who was playing a fatherly role to her, she certainly would have poured out some other acidic words in return. She could not have her dinner that evening, the words made her lose her appetite for food. You cannot imagine what impact two short sentences made carelessly within a few minutes in anger had on the recipient and on me the witness. I realized this is a much more general problem of man (both men and women); we are all too apt to speak words that hurt other people when we are angry or upset, and often we get back some equally or more hurtful ones and the result of such exchanges have been very destructive. Just like a spark starts a fire which becomes an uncontrollable inferno, so do unkind and hurtful words bring unpleasant consequences (James 3:5-6). We must realize, however, that we are accountable to God for the things we say, because God gave us the power of speech not to destroy people with it but to build them up. He made us in His image so that we like Him may create beauty, harmony and value with our words as exemplified in God's creation of a beautiful world in six days with His word (Genesis 1: 3-22). I ask you, what has been the impact of the words you have been speaking to your wife, your husband, your employees, colleagues, and people you meet and relate with? Do you tear them down or build them up with your words?
The first action we must take to address our word-problems is to check the state of our hearts. Our Lord Jesus Christ tells us that "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things; and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things...for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh" (Matthew 12: 35, 34b). It is not just that we say what we say accidentally, there are inward processes that produce words, and if we can check these processes, then our words will come out clean and pleasant. If we check out envy and jealousy from our hearts, we will deal with the propensity to speak derogatory or defamatory words. If we check out lustful thoughts from our hearts, we will not be sex-talking or making inappropriate remarks with the opposite sex. If we check out anger from our hearts, we would deal with the problem of speaking those soul rending and hurtful words. If we check out prideful vanities from our hearts, we will find that curse words, profanities, and vulgarities will no longer come off our mouths. I hope you realize that the state of your heart is the major determinant of the kind of words you will speak. The heart is the manufacturing center of words but the raw materials come into the heart from the culture of our environment. If you hang around cursing people, it would not be long before you also begin to curse because bad company corrupts morals. Generally, people become the product of their environment. I have good news, our hearts can be made clean again if we only willingly surrender it to Jesus Christ to flush out all evils with His redeeming blood. If we let the LORD dwell in our hearts, He will sanctify us and the Holy Spirit will run a check alerting us when something is going wrong inward and the wrong words are about to be spoken by us. If you are going to speak any different from how you have been doing, you need to be born again. You need to surrender your life to the lordship of Jesus Christ and that entails that you trust Him with your heart and with your tongue. I am sure if you make this commitment today, your mind will be renewed and your words will be God-glorifying and men-edifying.
How many Children have grown up with low self esteem because their parent or guardians kept telling them they were no-goods! How many grownups have lived their lives struggling with the negative pronouncements their teachers, trainers, or employers had made about them! Those people who called them 'idiots' or 'fools' may never remember by the next day that they said so, but those to which such words were directed may never recover from it for a lifetime. How many wives and husbands have been put down by their spouses who said they were not good enough. A wife may tell the husband in a time of anger, "You are not man enough", and then she may not remember it again but the husband may begin to be violent and aggressive towards her from that time just to proof he is man-enough. A preacher once admonished husbands never to say to their wives "You this stupid woman, one day I will throw you out of this house", because the woman will never forget it and will from that time begin to make plans towards the day you will throw her out. When heads of state of nations begin to get at each other with damning words, then the drums of war are already being beaten. O how terrible a fire the tongue can ignite! (James 4:5-6). Some people have committed suicide because the words of others made them feel worthless and unfit for life. But would we inflict such pains on others and we ourselves be free from consequences? No, not at all. We will reap what we sow, whether good or bad (Galatians 6:7). Parents who cursed their children come to realize that they suffer too. Their child does not make it and they watch with pained hearts as other children make success in life and bless their parents. Certainly there are repercussions for the negative words we speak in this world but the greatest will be when we stand before God on the day of Judgment. Jesus Christ tells us this, "But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned" (Matthew 12:36-37).
Friends, we are accountable to God for the words we speak because they make impact on the people that hear us. Freedom of speech may be a great right for humans to have but certainly there is a huge responsibility to exercise this right in a productive manner otherwise it becomes counterproductive. Remember that God will bring all things to judgment (Ecclesiastes 11:9c), and if idle words will be judged then must malicious slander, hateful and hurtful words! I wish that Journalists will beware of this end and weigh their words. I wish that they will not publish unfounded stories and untruths to defame and tarnish the reputation of another man. Friends we must weigh our words. For some people it is pretty normal to call others "fools", but Jesus Christ tells us that whosoever insults his brother(anybody) will be liable to the council(or court); and whoever says "You fool" will be in danger of hell fire (Matthew 5:22). O you who engage in all forms of name-calling and abuses, realize that you are in danger of being cast to hell fire forever! It would have been better you said nothing than that you said the wrong words!
It is also regrettable to note that we also speak negative words against ourselves. We must realize that the same effect that cruel words make on those we speak to will also happen to us if we say those things to ourselves. It happens that we sometimes scold, berate and even curse ourselves. We call ourselves names like 'idiot', 'fool', 'no-good', etc, just as we may do to others but this is equally wrong. When we do such things we are speaking against God's creation just as is the case if we abused another person because after God created us, His adjudgment of us was that we are good (Genesis 1: 22-31). Also when we speak against ourselves, it reveals our lack of faith in God to help us. No matter how many times you may have failed in life, do not pronounce yourself a failure. This was the problem of the children of Israel as they journeyed to Canaan from Egypt across the wilderness. Moses, their leader had sent out twelve spies to survey the land of Canaan, and when the spies returned, they reported that they saw giants who inhabited Canaan and ten of the spies said that they were like grasshoppers in the face of the giants. I am sure that if anyone had called these men grasshoppers, they would have been offended but here they were the ones calling themselves such names. The whole assembly of Israel believed the report of the ten spies and began to wail and weep, and this made God annoyed that He vowed that none of them would get into the land of promise because they did not trust Him, except for the other two spies, Joshua and Caleb who believed God enough to disagree with that report and charged the assembly to trust God (Numbers 13:25-33, 14: 1-38). Dear friend, whatever the temptation may be to speak words against yourself, resist it and trust God.
God calls us to repentance today. We must sincerely repent for the sinful words we have used to hurt people and we must ask God for forgiveness. God calls us to restitution today, hence we must also ask the forgiveness of those we maligned and slandered, or those who are hurting from the cruel words we spoke to them. The words "I am sorry" carry great weight to put aright what we have done wrong. How wonderful the restoration would be if husbands will apologize to wives for their abusive words and wives will also apologize to their husbands. How wonderful it will be for parents to apologize to their children for putting them down with the wrong words or placing curses on them. It will do a great deal of good if they will reverse those curses and bless their children. Children who had insulted their parents must also apologize to their parents. We can do this and let God's healing flow from us to those we offended. A politician who had sued a media house to court for over slanderous publication of a documentary against him had the suit decided in his favour. The media house was ordered to make public apology to the politician as much as they had also slandered his reputation. If the human judges would rule this way on the case, certainly the Judge of all judges would require that we set matters straight with those we had offended by rendering apologies to them.
Finally, we must have the deliverance of our tongues and we must from now speak the right words. When prophet Isaiah realized he was a man of unclean lips, he cried out to God and a burning coal was placed in his mouth by a Seraphim in a vision, and he was told "Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away and your sin atoned for" (Isaiah 6:5-7). Isaiah afterwards prophesied the coming of the Messiah and his words brought healing and salvation from that time. As you pray to the Lord today, I am certain He will purify your heart and your mouth that you may make positive impact with your words. Begin from today to speak wholesome words for it is written "A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the Spirit" (Proverbs 15:4). Let your words bring healing for it is written "There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health" (Proverbs 12:18). Let your words be pleasant because it is written "Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones" (Proverbs 16:24). Do not be one who speaks too many words, especially when you are upset or excited, for it is written "In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise" (Proverbs 10:19). Weigh your words henceforth before you speak. Think of the impact your words will make on people before you say it. May the Lord God endue us with power to employ our words only unto good purpose in Jesus Christ name. Amen.
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