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?

my 10 ways to FAIL

Fail_StampNobody ever plans to fail in life.  I’ve never met a single person who made it their life goal to be a loser, die young, and go through life all alone and depressed.  Yet people do these things everyday.  The lives of people we love are are full of addictions, bitterness, loneliness, depression, shame, and regret.

I’ve been asking myself what failure would look like for me personally.  Not mistakes or mess-ups; those happen all the time.  I’m talking about utter failure.  If I don’t know what failure would be for me, then it will be difficult to avoid it.  Here are 10 ways to fail.

1.  Build a great ministry while destroying a great marriage

2.  Compromise my convictions in a moment of weakness, and lose my family, my reputation, and my anointing from God.

3.  See thousands of strangers believe the gospel when I preach yet watch my own children reject the gospel when they grow up.

4.  Preach on being spiritually healthy while neglecting my own health for the sake of the ministry.

5.  Be productive in my daily work while never working on my own personal relationship with Jesus.

6.  Spend all my money and resources on my wants while neglecting the needs of my brothers and sisters, when it is in my power to help them.

7.  Be efficient at training and teaching others in how to do ministry but lack effectiveness in preparing my children to live for Christ as His disciples.

8.  Miss opportunities to bless, honor, and support other pastors and leaders because I am waiting on them to bless, honor, and notice me.

9.  Never have fun because I was too serious about my calling, my preaching, my writing, or my ministry responsibilities.

10.  Grow old without the deep, abiding love and friendships that I would miss if I never took the time to invest in people, beginning with my wife.

What would failure look like for you?