Thursday, April 21, 2016

What’s in a Word? Part 5 - Martin Wiles

Watch your tongue and keep your mouth shut, and you will stay out of trouble. Proverbs 21:23 NLT

“I am not a crook” meant nothing—and something.

Politicians are known for their words. President Richard Nixon is famous for the above statement, spoken while defending himself against charges associated with the Watergate scandal. 

But speaking words doesn’t necessarily make them true. People discover this when they vote for individuals to hold certain offices. Promises made are often broken once in office. Or at least not fulfilled due to opposition from another ruling body the candidate can’t control. 

One thing is for certain: if I keep my mouth shut, I won’t say something I shouldn’t. 

Words have the power to destroy relationships. Millions of relationships have been destroyed by words—words spoken with the intent to kill or words spoken in the heat of the moment that couldn’t be retrieved when sorrow for speaking them took over. 

Words can inflict a degree of emotional harm that holds the power to last longer than an act of physical violence. With my words, I can build or tear down relationships. 

Words reflect the Spirit’s control. As a believer with the indwelling Spirit of God, my words reflect the degree I’m allowing God to control my mouth. My words will mirror the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. When they don’t, it proves I’ve installed other things or people ahead of God. My priorities need examining. 

Words reflect intelligence. “I’d rather keep my mouth shut and let others think I’m a fool than open it and remove all doubt” is a comical saying with a lot of truth. My words demonstrate my knowledge about a particular subject or life in general. If I’m not an authority, it benefits me more to listen and learn than it does to speak out of ignorance. Godly wisdom should adorn my speech. 

Words are potent and powerful. Martin Luther King, Jr. moved a world with his “I Have a Dream” speech. Words can do that when spoken with intelligence, passion, and wisdom. They can kill or resurrect. In the 1960’s, they raised up several rights movements. Laws were passed and societies changed—for good and bad, by the power of words. 

Let God help you choose carefully the words you speak.

Prayer: Father, let the words we speak build our relationships and benefit our world.

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