Killer Words

“Kind words do not cost much.  Yet they accomplish much.” -Blaise Pascal

Neon words

We’ve all put our foot in our mouth at some point.  Careless, unwise, and quickly spoken words can destroy families, churches, and even communities. The tongue is a very small (2 oz) part of our bodies, but can be extremely dangerous and destructive. Our culture has 2 extremes in regards to the tongue…political correctness on one end…and no filter-ness on the other. When we choose our words wisely we find a biblical balance between the two.

A big problem with our tongues is that they are inconsistent.  One person prays before a meal and then gossips while they eat.  A parent says loving words to a child but uses harsh words with their spouse just moments later. Do you kiss your mom with that mouth?  Our tongues aren’t only inconsistent…they are deadly.

James cautions us, in James 3:1-18, to use words of wisdom and gentleness.

James 3:5-6 says,  “… the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. Consider how large a forest a small fire ignites. And the tongue is a fire.“

The truth is, we can’t control our own tongues.  We need the power and wisdom of God in our lives as we face daily relationship challenges.  Consider these principles based on what we find in James 3.

  • Examine your speech.  When it’s not right…repent.  Ask God to reveal the outcome of your words, not only what you mean or don’t mean to communicate. Use words that are understanding, pure, build peace, gentle, loving, and full of mercy.
  • House Cleaning.  Invite God to clean your heart. Ps. 51:15 “O Lord, open my lips, That my mouth may declare Your praise.”  On some level, we all need heart surgery.  The mouth speaks out of the overflow of the heart (Matt:12:24).  Ask the good doctor for an examination.
  • Switch Seats. James 3:8 says that no person can tame the tongue.  The good news is…God, through His Spirit, can!  If we switch seats and transfer control to the Holy Spirit, our words filter through Him.  The rudder drives the ship, but the captain controls the rudder.  When we switch seats…we reflect Him.

When we make the decision to speak words filled with wisdom and gentleness, God is glorified.  Three good questions to ask before speaking are…

  • Will my words show God’s grace? The words from the mouth of a wise man are gracious“ (Ecc. 10:12a).
  • Will my words bring healing? The tongue of the wise brings healing” (Prov. 12:18b).
  • Will my words give life? “Life and death are in the power of the tongue” (Prov. 18:21a).

Your words have the power to build up or to destroy.  It’s our choice.  When has your life been changed by wise and gentle words?

That’s Tempting

James 1:16-18  Don’t be deceived, my dearly loved brothers.  Every generous act and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights; with Him there is no variation or shadow cast by turning. By His own choice, He gave us a new birth by the message of truth so that we would be the first fruits of His creatures. 


Temptation is all around us.  It seems like the closer we get to God, the more the enemy is attacking us with it.  Being tempted isn’t wrong. But the longer we consider a temptation, the weaker we get. So how do we deal with the pressure of temptation? The truth is that we can’t do it on our own….not for long anyway.  We must draw upon the good and perfect gifts God gives to us. God provides what we need to live righteously, and resist temptation.  A few of those provisions include…

A relationship with Christ—We may think we are helpless to resist temptation, but as a child of God, the power of Christ within us gives us victory over sin. As Christians, we are called to be holy and blameless. Because we are a children of God, we CAN be successful in resisting temptation. The power of the Holy Spirit lives within empowers us. So repent, and call on God’s power to live like a Christ-follower.

God’s Word—Even Jesus was tempted.  When He was, He responded to the temptation with scripture (Matt. 4:4). If Jesus did it, shouldn’t we? What better way to overcome the pressure of temptation than obedience to the Word of God…who knows us better than we know ourselves? When we digest and memorize God’s Word, we have the ability to give the right answer at the right time. God’s Word becomes our personal defense system (Ps. 119:11).

A Way Out—The promise from 1 Corinthians 10:13 is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. God provides a way of escape and helps us face any temptation we face. God promises to provide us with the ability to resist temptation. God’s way out may be a doorbell, a whisper in your conscience, or a friend holding you accountable. But God does’t stop us without our participation.

We need to call out to Christ for help. The Holy Spirit within us was sent to be our helper.  We must also pay attention to God’s provided way out and not walk past it. Being proactive in doing things that make us stronger will also help in our escape. The pressure of temptation is great—but God is greater!  He has provided us with all that we need to resist that pressure.