Matthew 12:33-37 The Power of Words
When Amy came to school she was feeling fine, she didn’t know that her friends had chosen her for an experiment. They had heard about the power of suggestion in a class at school. Someone thought it would be interesting to see if they could make someone sick. So unbeknownst to Amy she was chosen. Her friends would look at her and ask her is she felt well, tell her she looked sick, and other comments until noon when perfectly healthy Amy went home sick from school.
We are aware of how words can be used to inflict great harm on people. Young people are taunted on the internet and in school the words push them to suicide. Hate filled words fill our news, painted on sings, and spewed out over the internet until someone inspired by those words burns a church, shoots up a school or synagogue. Words have immense power. To ignore their power is a foolish thing.
Jesus confronted the Pharisees and scribes about their words, and has a message for us about ours. In verse 36 it say that you will give an account for every careless word you speak. You may think that your gossip and prejudice are not going to find you out but your careless words are being listened to.
The news is filled with people who have made comments that they thought were made in secret only to find them on the from page and TV news. Words have great power to destroy people and nations.
James 3:1-12 says; “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. For we all stumble in many ways, and if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle his whole body. If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and salt water? Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.”
We see this power in the eyes of children told they are stupid, lazy, useless, and ugly. We see it in bent shoulders of a spouse who is the victim of constant verbal abuse. Negative words have great power.
Not only is what you say important, what you don’t say is important. Spouses how often have you told your husband or wife that you love them or why you love them. How often have you held them with no other agenda than to tell them you want to be near them? How many children have grown up without a single word of approval or encouragement from their parents. Sometimes it is what you don’t say that is as important as what you do say.
But as much as words can destroy, words can heal. Positive words honestly said can turn life around. Words like I believe in you, You are loved, you are beautiful, I value you, you are important, you matter to me, and I see you.
In the next few sermons I am going to show you the positive words that God has to share with us. God has words that will lift your heart and change your life, so I hope you will join us each Sunday and bring your friends to learn these words which God says to you.
Until next week will you ask God to show you if you are using hurtful words. Will you ask God to show you if you have stayed silent and spoken the words of praise and encouragement to someone. Your words and the lack of words really do make a difference.