Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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

what's in a word
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 saying 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 certain: if we keep our mouths shut, we won’t say something we shouldn’t.

Words have the power to destroy relationships. Words have destroyed millions of relationships—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 words, we can build or tear down relationships.

Words reflect the Spirit’s control. As a believer with the indwelling Spirit of God, our words reflect the degree we’re allowing God to control our mouths. Our words will mirror the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control. When they don’t, it proves we’ve installed other things or people ahead of God. Our 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. Words demonstrate knowledge about a particular subject or life in general. If we’re not an authority, we benefit more by listening and learning than speaking out of ignorance. Godly wisdom should adorn our speech.

Words are potent. Martin Luther King, Jr. moved the 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 1960s, they raised several rights movements. Laws were passed, and societies changed for the good and the bad.

Let God help you carefully choose the words you speak.

Father, let the words I speak build relationships and benefit our world.

Tweetable: What do your words reveal? 

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