You already know the power of your words. Your speech impacts many other aspects of your life. I love the accuracy of the Bible in reference to the tongue.

And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is full of wickedness that can ruin your whole life. It can turn the entire course of your life into a blazing flame of destruction, for it is set on fire by hell itself.

James 3:6

This same passage uses the metaphor of the rudder to describe the tongue; it’s just a little part of our body, but it can cause a whole lot of trouble.

We say many foolish things in speaking to our friends and family. Many of them violate all the rules of godly communication and lead us into conflicts with others. Some of the statements are downright evil!

Instead of asking questions, we tell people what they are thinking and feeling. We tell them things like:

  • “You don’t really care.”
  • “You shouldn’t feel that way.”
  • “You are in a bad mood.”
  • “You don’t love me.”

If you think back on your conversations that have gone this way, how helpful has this been? Did your statements accomplish anything positive or lead to an argument? Most people, when confronted with such statements, become very defensive and angry because they are being accused of something. This adds to the corruption of the communication process.

If you are like me, you have uttered many words that you wish you could take back — words to your children, your parents, your spouse or your friends. I have said many foolish and hurtful things to other people, even as a Christian! This is not to my credit or God’s glory but to my shame. James was truly inspired as he wrote about the tongue and its poison for there is no more accurate a word picture than the one he drew for us.

Our words can be such a gift to others and yet we tend to use them to beat each other emotionally to a bloody pulp. I have observed parents berating their children with words like “stupid”, “idiot”, and words that are not fit to print. As they berate them verbally, the change in posture and countenance of their children is easily discernible. The shoulders slump, eyes cast downward to the floor, lips begin to quiver… the child is ripped apart inside.

The world says that this effects a child’s self-esteem. There is something more important at stake than the child’s opinion of him or herself! When we speak to anyone (child or adult) in such a disparaging manner we are degrading and denigrating the creation of the living God! We are cursing out someone made in the image and likeness of God, and this is far more serious than how that person feels about himself.

Because too few people are taught that they are God-reflectors, all they have to cling to is the psychological clap-trap, but you will find no such term as “self-esteem” in the Bible. In light of this, ask yourself two questions: How am I speaking to others? How am I receiving the words of others?