How many wars have been won or lost before they have even begun because of the words exchanged between the opponents? How many relationships have flourished or been doomed because of the words spoken between two people? It is in the words that are used (as well as the way in which they are used) that there is either encouragement or defeat. It is in the things that are said, either verbally or non-verbally that there is building up or breaking down. As powerless as we are over the world, we have all wrapped up within our mouth the power to change the course of history. How many speeches have led the masses to repentance and to reconciliation? How many speeches have incited the masses to hate and murder? How many speeches have been missed because the words that were used seemed to hold no significance or power for the people listening? The power of speech lies in the ability of the one speaking to articulate what they need to say clearly enough and it lies in those who listen to the words to the extent that they give authority to the one speaking to speak into their lives.
It would be great if we were all able to say what we wanted to say without any chance of being misunderstood but that is unfortunately not the realty we live with. Obviously we all receive and interpret the conversations we have differently and we are capable of receiving something positive out of a negative statement as well as receiving something negative out of a positive statement. I guess that has to do with what we expect to come from the person we are speaking to (whether it is justified or not because our expectations are not often based in reality – we often hear what we want to hear). When words are spoken; we hang on to the negative, in our insecurity, out of fear that the words may be true or we hold on to the positive because we have learned to trust that we are not who we fear we are.
While we do have the power of speaking life or death into the lives of those around us it is incredible how we can seek to do both at different times in the lives of the same people. This is not because of who they are but because of how we imagine they see us. Those who dwell in the misery of their insecurities are normally those who are in the habit of speaking negatively into most situations. Those who have received the peace of God are normally those who are in the habit of speaking positively. The way we speak is not fixed, but it is the habit we choose to form through practice. We can only consistently speak life when we experience the life that comes from a close walk with Christ and we desire that life for others. We can only consistently speak life when we discover the freedom from fear that we find in the perfect love of God. We can only consistently speak life when we are not afraid of what others may think because we have seen ourselves through the eyes of the God who loves us even to death on the cross. We can only consistently speak life when we love as God has taught us how to love. May the love in our hearts be evident in the words of our mouths.