There are certain words that are used in the english language that elicit a strong response. Depending on the time of year or what is happening in the world, certain words will escalate an already tense situation.

When you read these words how do you feel?

Abortion          Religion       Mohammad         Holocaust      Love

Homosexuality        Jesus         Buddha      Marriage         Hate

War         Peace          Dictator        Nazi     Church        Judgmental

Some words may be positive for you and negative to others. Each of these words, and many others, will generate a feeling or thought. I don’t think we are always aware of how our words will affect someone else.

Recently I was doing a private baptism. In the middle of the service I was sharing some Scripture about the little children being brought to Jesus. As I shared this passage with the family, the mother began crying and tears were flowing down her cheeks. I had never witnessed anyone ever weep because of that passage. I was a little thrown off by the way she was crying, but I assumed it was because it was a special day and God was claiming her son in the waters of baptism. Everything else went just as planned and the ceremony was over. I left the family in the sanctuary to take pictures and spend time together. I came back in when the family looked like they picking up and getting ready to leave. They were thanking me and very appreciative of my time and the ceremony. The mother asked me about the faith chest that we give to each child baptized at Gloria Dei. I told her a little bit of history on them and talked about the guys who build them. She asked if there was a way she could buy another chest, because she had a child who died at three months old. She said that’s why I was crying up there when you were sharing the scripture passage, it was the one they had at the funeral service. When she heard the scripture it took her back to the pain, sadness and sorrow of losing a child, but it was mixed with the joy of seeing another child baptized as the same passage was being read.

We never know the effect our words will have either positive or negative. As we have been studying the epistle of James, we find that this week James has some words for us to hear. Look at this small chunk…

“With the tongue (our words) we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” James 3:9-12

James believes it is a complete contradiction for the negative and hurtful speech to come out of the mouth that praises God. Why would a Christian have speech that is filled with hate, scorn or vile when the Spirit of the Lord is upon us? It doesn’t make sense, until you realize me live in a fallen world, where even the people of God fall short.

Once again we are called to awareness. We need to be aware that our words can have a positive and negative reaction. James calls Christians to speech and words that are consistent with our faith. Christians should be known for their positive, encouraging and life-giving words and not our words that tear down and defeat others.

Let us use our words in a positive way today to speak a word that someone needs to hear, because we never know what one little word could do brighten a day.


How can we become better at encouraging instead of tearing each other down? Who can you speak a positive word to today that could really need it?

Be a blessing today!