In the beginning God spoke creation into existence. And he has given us the dignity of causation as well – the ability to make things happen. The words we speak have the power of life and death.
While we tend to understand the need for effective communication, we don’t often give much thought to the power of our words. But much beyond simply understanding each other better, our words can build up and tear down – inspire, create, and heal as well as demean, destroy, and divide. Words don’t merely describe what is. They also have the ability to make things happen and shift the course of our life for better or worse.
For instance, bitterness and resentment eventually take root if we spend all day criticizing and complaining. And the fruit of this is contempt, disregard, and often despair. A failure to thrive in our life, relationships, and community is often traced back to the kinds of words we speak to each other, and even what we tell ourselves.
But the power of our words can also produce the opposite effect. We bring more life and goodness into the world as we speak words of gratitude and hope, encouragement and comfort. These are not words to simply sugarcoat hard realities. Rather, they clearly name the truth, goodness, and beauty that remain despite dark days. In short, they’re words of light and love.
Through the power of our words we build relationships and create communities that move us closer and closer to God’s best for us. We neglect our duty as divine image bearers to reflect God’s creative goodness when we’re careless with our words or remain silent when it’s time to speak.
Be intentional and wise with your words – courageously speaking words of life and love.