the weight of words
I walked down the aisle in the white dress I’d dreamed about pretty much my whole life. My dad gave me away, and almost everyone I loved watched as I turned to face the man who was about to become my husband. My heart raced while the pastor spoke, and when it was my turn to answer I squeaked out the words “I do” before a happy sob took my breath away.
Two words had just changed my life forever. Two words changed my last name and bound me to my husband in a marriage covenant for life.That day, at the end of an aisle, those two words carried a lot of weight, and whether we realize it or not, our words always carry weight.
Words are powerful (Proverbs 18:21).
Consider some of the most powerful words in your own life. There are words you’re longing to hear, and words you’re longing to say. There are words you wish you’d never said, and words you wish you’d never heard. There are words that shaped you, stuck with you, or even haunt you. Words like I love you and I’m sorry—those words matter. Your words matter.
But in the middle of an argument with my husband or the back of a really long line at Target, I’m not thinking about how much my words matter or how powerful they are. My words fall out flippantly and arrogantly. I complain, I gossip, and I lose my cool, letting anger get the best of my tongue. And maybe I’m not the only one?
The book of James talks about the power that words have and compares our tongues to fire (James 3:6). Just like fire, our words can be used to ignite passion or burn down dreams. And all too often I know that my words are not the passion-igniting kind, or even the simply loving and encouraging kind.
As women of God, it’s crucial that we understand the weight of our words. It’s important for us to heed the warning of James and manage our fiery tongues with wisdom and thoughtful caution. Our words can have a lasting impact. What do you want that impact to be?
Proverbs says it this way: “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body” (16:24).
power and potential
But, if we’re not careful and our words aren’t so sweet, our tongues can easily burn ourselves and others. If we’re not careful, our words will reflect our sin rather than our Savior. At the end of the day, the most important thing to remember is that our tongue has one purpose: to glorify God—the One whose words matter most.
Your words matter, but His Word matters more.
God’s Word is powerful. His Word is alive and active and has the precision of a sword to cut right into our hearts with truth and hope (Hebrews 4:12).
His Word restores and heals even the most painful burns left by someone else’s words. His Word blazes a trail of truth—to lead, guide, encourage, and admonish.
God’s Word is the final word. Our words should be constantly pointing to His, reflecting His truth because His words are the only ones that still stand in the end. His are the only ones with the final say-so. Your own words, nor the words of other people, cannot save you, heal you, or define you. The Word who became flesh is the only one with the power to save, heal, and define (John 1:14).
Lean into His Word so that you can better choose your own words. Use your words to graciously reflect the most important words—the Word—Jesus Christ.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)