Words shape the future. Whether we’re talking about written words or spoken words, the fact is families, churches, governments, nations tend to move in some direction because of words that are spoken by a leader or by a parent or by a teacher.
Words move the world. They’re incredibly important.
We’re talking about the power of the tongue and how careful we have to be with what we say. What I say matters, and it matters to the people who are listening to me and looking for direction.
James, in the third chapter of his epistle, says, “We put bits in the mouths of horses to make them obey us; we can turn turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder, wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body but it makes great boasts.” (James 3:3-5 NIV)
Just as a giant ship with a tiny rudder that turned this way or this way, we’ll steer the ship in some direction. Just like the small bit that we put in the mouth of a powerful horse, and the pull the reins one direction or another, we’ll point the horse in a direction. So our words will make a difference in people’s lives.
You cannot simply drop a word of instruction or encouragement or a word of criticism without understanding that those words are going to stick. They’re going to send people in some direction.
Now here’s the positive side of that: In a world where people are desperately seeking purpose, desperately seeking direction, you and I as followers of Jesus get to use our words to point people to Jesus Christ. To draw them into love. To point them toward the one who made them and cares about them and will change their lives forever if they’ll simply trust in him.
So be careful with your words, but also be ready with your words. Be ready to give an answer when someone asks you about the reason why you have hope. Be ready to take on the arguments and the skepticism and be ready to represent with love the truth that God has for the world around you. Your words will make things happen, so go change the world with them.