Words have the power to destroy. James 3:1-12 gives us understanding of the power of words to influence people and the spiritual atmosphere around us. The scripture says our words can be so destructive as to cause great forest fires, corrupt our bodies and set our lives on fire. Wow! That is power….power to destroy! Our words can destroy hope, trust, unity and peace. They destroy hope by sabotaging the hope of glory we have in the good news gospel. They destroy trust by speaking publicly those things that should be held in confidence. They destroy unity by speaking strife and division in the church. They destroy peace by bringing doubt and anxiety into the lives of people around us.
But there is good news…..we have a choice in the words we speak…..and that choice is found in James’ depiction of two wells: a fresh well and a bitter well; the well of the heart. The heart is the decision station of life; the intersection of soul and spirit.
Patterns of speech give insight into the attitude of our hearts. Negative patterns of speech reveal negative attitudes of the heart. Positive patterns of speech reveal an optimistic outlook on life undergirded by grace based attitudes of the heart. Let’s face it. We would much rather hang around with people who speak words of life and encouragement than words of death and destruction. I find that I can handle negative people only so long, then I try to avoid them….even if they are friends!!! Just because you’re a believer in Jesus and or a leader in the body of Christ does not guarantee you draw your words from a fresh well.
Out of the overflow of our hearts we choose the words we speak. (Luke 6:45) The inner transformation from bitter water to fresh water is in the transformation to a good and noble heart. No matter how bad life circumstances may be, we can still choose to develop a good and noble heart (see Luke 8:15) that brings forth words like fresh water. We gain a good and noble heart as we embrace the gospel of grace and peace rather than a gospel of wrath and judgment. We gain a good and noble heart by cultivating our soul with the good news of Jesus’ victory over hell and the grave. We transform the heart by embracing the unconditional love of the Father. From this fresh well of the good and noble heart we terminate the words of destruction and germinate the words of delight. We infuse life in those around us and into the spiritual climate of our lives.Transform your heart and you will transform your words from destroying to delighting. Transform your heart and your words will no longer start fires or corrupt your life. Jesus said he came to bring good news. So should you!!