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The Powerful Effect Of Words

The tongue is a small thing, but what enormous damage it can do – James 3: 5 (TLB)

This passage from the book of James is often quoted by clergy and lay people alike to warn others about the power of their words. The tongue indeed can do a lot of damage, but if used wisely, it can do a lot of good.

Let us look at some powerful words and their effects.

Words can bless: “The Lord bless you and keep you;  the Lord make his face shine on you
and be gracious to you” (Numbers 6: 24 – 25).

Words can curse: So the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life” (Genesis 3: 14).

Words can create: And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light (Genesis 1: 3).

Words can destroy: “You will never amount to anything.”

Words can inspire: “This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.” Martin Luther King Jr. —”I Have A Dream” speech, Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963

Words can comfort: “I care about you. We’ll fight this battle together.”

Words can demean: “Snap out of it! Stop feeling sorry for yourself!”

Yesterday we celebrated the birthday of a man whose words galvanized the civil rights movement and inspired hope in the hearts of millions the world over. The words of Martin Luther King Jr. remain a priceless legacy we all can live by. What about your words? Do they create or destroy, comfort or condemn? The next time you open your mouth to say something, think before you speak, for you can never take back those words.

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