Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Taming the Beast...

 
James 3:7-8 – “All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.”
 
Words are powerful. They have the ability to bless and encourage. They also can assassinate a person’s character and create a sense of negativity that permeates our lives. Like an archer releasing an arrow, once launched our words cannot be recalled. Most often we are left struggling with thoughts like “I wish I hadn’t said that” or “I’m sorry.” In all cases, however, the damage has been done and takes enormous effort to repair.
Some time ago I worked through an exercise that underscored the importance of words. On a sheet of paper I wrote down the five most significant compliments received in my life. As I reflected on the list, I was reminded how various people had used their words to encourage and edify my life. These included a fourth grade teacher who encouraged a stuttering young boy that he could speak in public and a college professor who encouraged me to write. I then moved to the “dark” side and wrote the five most hurtful criticisms. The influence of these extremes reinforced the truth James references in the above scripture: words matter.
 
In reality it’s not a matter of the mouth, but rather the heart.  Jesus reminded us of this when said in Luke 6:45, “out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks.”  That’s why the state of the heart is so critical. So what’s the state of your heart? Are you using your words to encourage or tear down? In the end the words we speak are a spiritual choice. How are you using yours?
APPLICATION
What are the five most meaningful compliments of your life?
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What are the five most hurtful criticisms of your life?
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Identify someone to bless this week with your words…and do it!

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