Words Have Weight

Rob Stroup
Written by Rob Stroup

Does what we say really matter? Sometimes we feel that no one listens to us. If words really have no impact, then what difference does it make if we say something inappropriate? Does it matter if we are unkind with our words? Is it worth the effort to think before we speak? Is it really necessary to be polite? People just ignore it anyway, right?

The correct response to these questions is, “Yes, words make a difference. Yes, it does matter how we express ourselves. Yes, words can wound and words can heal. Yes, it is worth the effort to think before we speak and be polite.” Although we may not see the impact our words make on others, the Bible teaches that what we say and how we say it makes a difference.

First, proper speech has great benefit. Proverbs 25:11 A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Do you ever remember a compliment someone gave you in the past? A well timed kind word can make a repeated influence on others. Each time we recall that compliment, we are encouraged anew. Maybe it is what gives us the confidence to keep pressing on in adversity. We can have a repeated positive impact on others by thoughtful, sincere encouragement.

Secondly, allowing words to pass our lips in the wrong way (to hurt others, to curse, to gossip, or to tell a lie) is sin in God’s eyes and will have consequences. Matthew 15:11 Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. Jesus was very clear that our speech can damage our relationship with God. In James, we are reminded how strong the tongue is. He compares it to steering a ship or setting a fire. Very few words are needed to influence the direction of our lives toward evil or toward good.

Also, words spoken in anger have a very negative impact on others. Angry, critical words are more easily recalled by the person who heard them than kind remarks! Proverbs 27:3 A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool’s wrath is heavier than them both. We should never excuse our speech because we are angry. Often we will hear someone say, “I didn’t really mean it. I was just angry.” If we allow our anger to control us, we are sinning.

Psalm 19:14 Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.