Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Power Of Words

In my daily devotional reading, I came across a line that resonated deep in my soul. It reminded readers that God created language to be powerfully used for good but sin made our tongues a potential force for evil.

We all need to choose our words carefully. This is especially true for writers because our words generally affect more people. Whether prompted by the Holy Spirit or the Devil, we write because we must. When we write for ourselves, the Enemy can easily influence us to express a world view that rewards and encourages selfishness. We know this ends in destruction but our humanity naturally attracts us to worldly fame, fortune and power.

As a teacher and defender of children, my greatest fear is that I will mislead them with my words. God has promised a stricter judgment for teachers because they have a greater influence on people than others. As writers, we are teachers. Our words have a profound influence on our readers, so we must choose our words very carefully. Those of us who are believers have a responsibility to write the words God gives us. In doing this, we can rest assured that our influence will be beneficial to our readers.

For those of you who deny the existence of God, your future is bleak. Whether you like it or not, when we die, we’ll all have to account for our choices in life, including our choice of words. This is not good news for those who write to gain personally by influencing others to pursue their selfish desires. You’re leading others down a path of destruction and you’ll have to answer for that.

For all of us, we need to recognize that our words do influence others, for better or worse, and take that responsibility seriously. As the Scripture says, “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.” Our words need to express the love of Christ for all people. We need to encourage them to experience the inexplicable joy that accompanies following God’s lead. We need to show them through our actions, and our words, that there is nothing more wonderful or fulfilling than the love of God.

As it says in John 15:13, there is no greater expression of love than laying down your own life for a friend. While this does mean we must be willing to die to save the life of a friend, it also means we must be willing to share our failures and mistakes with others so they can learn from them. This means we must write the truth, whether fiction or non-fiction, not just to entertain but also to teach.

The childhood defense of “sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me” is wrong. Most often, hurtful words will inflict greater and longer lasting damage than any physical attack. Let’s choose our words carefully. Let’s build one another up and express the love of Christ with each one.

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