I don’t think most of us fully realize the power of words.
I was reading the other day that in 1887 Abraham Lincoln’s coffin was dug up and opened because there was a rumor going around that it was empty.
Amazingly, in 1901—just 14 years later—it was dug up and opened again. Why? Because there was a rumor going around that it was empty!
In case you’re wondering, Lincoln’s body was found in his coffin both times, but that just goes to show you the power of the spoken word. Even a silly, unfounded rumor can grow bigger than life and cause intelligent people to do ridiculous things.
James 3:5 says, “A tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire.”
Speaking of fires, almost all of the marital problems and church conflicts I’ve observed over the years have been either triggered or fueled by hurtful, insensitive, or poorly chosen words.
I’ll never forget the time one girl in our youth group called another girl a slut. (Yes, they were competing for the same boy.) I spoke to the mouthy girl’s mother and said, “We can’t have that. It’s unacceptable.” The mother said, “But Mark, the girl is a slut!”
And you wonder why I have no hair.
Both families ended up leaving the church. One because their daughter was called a slut and the other because we dared to object and demand an apology. I remember saying to our elders: “Those four little letters–S, L, U, and T–seem so harmless until you string them together and throw them at somebody.”
Proverbs 18:7 says, “The mouths of fools are their ruin.” And sadly, not just their own ruin, but other people’s too. Here’s your assignment for today:
Watch what you say.