No. This blog is not about that iPhone game. In case you have no idea what Words With Friends is, then you probably aren’t missing out on a whole lot. It’s essentially online Scrabble, but why play online Scrabble, when you can play real Scrabble with real people? Anyways, I’m getting distracted… No, this blog is actually about the literal sense of the title, that is, what are the consequences of our words with friends? Before I get into that idea, I want to explore another idea found in the Bible that will hopefully bring light to the importance of what we say to those around us.
As Christians, we have been made in the image of God. This idea alone could be plumbed to the depths for eternity, and we would still be nowhere closer to fully understanding it than we do now. But there is one aspect of the image of God that I would like to consider in light of this blog post.
What is the very first thing we see God doing? Why, its existing first of all, but right after that, he speaks. And what does he speak? Why creation of course! We all know the story, but if you don’t, or maybe you just want to read it again, go to Genesis 1 and 2 and begin to look at what exactly is going on. Look at the way that God goes about speaking things into existence. He says, “ Let there be…” and then “there was..” and “it was good.”
God literally speaks creation into existence, and everything he spoke was good. Now if we are made in the image of God, as we see in Genesis 1:26, what implications does the creation story carry for us? Is it implying that we could say something like, “Let there be coffee in my mug.” and then there will be, and it will be good? As much as I wish that were true, it simply is not. But in a sense, we do have the same creative ability granted to us. We see it all around us in the form of art, architecture, music and literature. Humans can create good and wonderful stuff, because our Creator created us to create.
But let’s get really specific. How does God create? With spoken words, right? He looked at the chaos and imposed order. I believe that we can create in the exact same way. Here’s my big idea for the blog: In the same way that God creates the world via spoken word, we can create, or rather, draw forth life from others by speaking truth and encouragement; conversely, we can speak death (ominous phrase, I know) into others whether knowingly or unknowingly with the same mouth. As Steven Furtick writes in his book, Crashing the Chatterbox, “The voice you listen to will determine the future you experience.” Many of you may already be familiar with the concept, but once again, I write so that I can fully process these ideas for myself (it’s selfish, I get it).
So what exactly do I mean by “speaking death?” Well, in the garden, that’s exactly what the serpent did. He spoke words that led to both spiritual and physical death for the human race. Pretty powerful when you think that it was simply words, everyday words, that led humanity astray. We also see in James the power of the tongue. Forget bad breath; James literally says the tongue is set on flames with the fire of hell. I don’t know about you, but I would never open my mouth after hearing that. You see, the tongue (our words\what we say) has great power to kill and destroy.
On the opposite end of the tongue spectrum, we see the ability of our words to refresh those around us. Hebrews 10:24-25 talks about how to “stir others to good love and good deeds.” Ephesians says we should “let no corrupting talk come out of our mouth, but only what is helpful for building others up.” Notice the phrase “building others up.” When we encourage, we do more than just make someone feel good. We add to their life; we “build them up.”
We can also speak identity into someone, even when it may not be there. If you begin telling someone long enough that they are beautiful or that they are strong, they will certainly begin to believe it about themselves. In a sense then, we create in somebody what wasn’t necessarily there before. Do you now begin to see the power of our words? The opposite is true as well. We can bring someone down and point out a flaw that might not even be there. Do it long enough though, and it becomes a reality for them.
Look anywhere from Proverbs to James, from Romans to Ephesians. The Bible has much to say about both the positive and negative power of our words. Just like Creator God created us, so too we can create, for good or bad. So my encouragement for you, dear reader, is to encourage others. Find someone, once a day, and speak truth into their life. Make someone’s day. It’s so easy to do so. With such small words, we can change the course of a life.