My friend Courtney is the kind of person who is unintentionally profound and who speaks wisdom when I am least expecting it. She is strong and opinionated and doesn't just believe God loves her - she knows it. She has exposed truth in Scripture to me often without realizing how much it rattles and surprises me. I love her a lot.
We were talking about the power of words, as I have discussed on this blog a few times (see here and here), and I was rambling on and on, as I am prone to do, about the power of the written word. I was thinking about my book collection and the essays I've read, and how they have affected me and how I want them to resonate with others, too. Courtney agreed, appeasing me as she is so apt to do, and added sort of nonchalantly: "I always forget how powerful the spoken word is, you know. I mean, God created the earth by speaking it into existence, you know? So maybe our words have the power to be devine, too, you know?"
(Courtney says "you know" a lot.)
I thought about that, and when my Communications Studies prof assigned us to read the first 11 chapters of Genesis as homework, I started pondering it again. About how what I say to and about and around and on behalf of other people is powerful. Or, rather, has the potential to be powerful. And then I think about how carelessly I treat what I say, and I am ashamed. I am frequently embarrassed and frustrated by my mouth and what comes out of it, and I don't think that is what God intended when he gave us the power to speak.
The Book of James says that "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be." (James 3: 9-10) Every so often I am struck by the enormity of what living life as a Christian should look like, and how I'm not always doing so hot, and this passage reminds me that when I am slanderous and rude, I am hurting other people. When I pass on a tidbit of information I overheard, my tongue is poison. It is not kind, it is not empowering, and it is not living a life of love.
Friends, please hold me accountable when my mouth causes pain to others. I want desperately to tame my tongue and use my words for encouragement, wisdom, teaching, and loving others.