There are virtually no exceptions. All of us have been affected by the words we have heard. You may have to give it some thought, but you will remember.
Was it a parent or a teacher? Maybe it was a friend or a stranger who spoke to you, or about you. Their words, though, have never left you. They became the force that changed the course of your life, either good or bad.
Could that be true? If you think about it, if a single pronouncement can change the course of history, what influence can hover over an individual's life as a result of a word or phrase?
Jesus once said that for every word that men speak they will give an account on the day of judgment. He added, "For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned."
Unfortunately, in our current culture we seem to have forgotten the power and significance of our daily diet of verbal blessing and cursing. Having digested and assimilated a constant barrage of language, peppered with coarse, foul and abusive terminology, what consequences do you suppose could be seen in the complexion of our lives?
The Bible is filled with incidents that reflect the potency of a single word. From the moment God uttered, "Light, exist!" to the Roman Centurion who understood that Jesus needed only to "say in a word," and his servant would be healed, the Bible emphasizes the importance of words we choose to speak.
If powers of creation and healing can be traced to words, what forces of evil and destruction could be unleashed as well?
Take, for instance, the comments of James, the author of the New Testament book that bears his name. He wrote, "Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is also a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of this life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell."
What a thought! Apparently we have the potential to initiate processes in people's lives of which we are unaware! Little wonder that Jesus issued stern warnings about the terms we fling in the direction of others, even going so far as to state the man who calls another "You fool!" will be in danger of the "fire of hell."
There is little doubt that every one of us has, at one time or another, risen to greater heights by a word of encouragement, or has been demoralized by a searing word of damnation. One wonders what wonderful ideas have been destroyed, or young lives redefined by some verbal blast. Either purposed or passing, the effect may be the same.
You do remember, don't you? Was it a compliment or criticism, a cutting remark, or casual comment? It may have been years ago, but were they the words that challenged you, molded you, inspired you, or were they the words that demonized and discouraged? But they are only words, right? How does it go? "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words will never harm me." The Scriptures say otherwise.
A mysterious principle lies behind Biblical instructions that teach us to speak to mountains and rebuke evil. The constant string of four-letter words and innuendo has a profound impact on the making of our lives. If we think of words as commands, and tools that move, direct and create, they will appear a major force in this world of ours.
So think again. There is not a single thing that exists that someone has not declared into being and not a single life not molded by word. Instead of the habitual expletive, why not learn new words that breed hope and love? There might be something after all to this idea of "increasing your word power."
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