I was reading through Proverbs and I found multiple references to the power of words. This served as an opportunity for me to reflect on some of the ways that words are discussed in the Bible and their implications.
The spoken word has creative power as evidenced in Genesis Chapter 1. The statement “And God Said” (ESV) is repeated again and again and it is just by this act of speech that all existence was created: the heavens and the earth and all that lies therein. I am not sure and do not want to speculate at this time as to what power, if any, mankind has to “manifest” reality based on their words but I think there is merit to and biblical support of positive thinking and positive speaking (see Numbers 11:1). Given the power that words have, it is not surprising to hear that we are to be judged by them. “I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” (Matthew 12:36-37 ESV). It is a frightening thought to consider that we will have to give account for every careless word we speak and so I thank God for his grace.
But why are we to be judged by our words? Perhaps because our words are a reflection of our heart. “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure, brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.” (Matthew 12:34-35 ESV). Earlier in this passage Jesus talks about good fruits and bad fruits and I think this is an apt analogy because in a sense whenever we speak (with some exceptions such as monologues or self-talk or the like) we are speaking for an audience. Our words are our thoughts (internal reality) manifested into the external for the purpose of being heard by another and (intentionally or not) influencing their thinking. So we must be very careful of the things we say because we are feeding others with our words and we can nourish them or poison them.
End of Part 1
*ESV=English Standard Version