We use it all the time- in our homes, churches, schools; in the marketplace, in fact everywhere. It is the major vehicle through which we express ourselves, our thoughts and ideas. Have you ever imagined how utterly frustrating it would be if all mankind were to resort to only sign or body language as a means of expression? Or maybe if words were to be rationed- like being able to speak only a hundred words per day? I know you’ve probably spoken at least ten thousand today. So have I in all honesty. So imagine how frustrating it would be. More so when someone has deeply offended you and you’re dying to give him a piece of your mind; or when you just can’t wait to share that juicy gossip only to discover that you’ve exhausted your word quota for that day. Well, it’s not like that. Thank God! But then I wonder if we remotely understand the value of the words we speak day in and day out. Let’s look at a few illustrations to help us understand.
When God created the universe, He used only words. He didn’t have to get up from His seat, or wave His hands around or anything like that. All He did was speak words and the earth was created from nothing.
When Jacob ran away from Esau his brother, he left with only the clothes on his back and the blessing of his father which was essentially words spoken to him, but he returned far richer than Esau. When Isaac blessed his sons, the words he used determined the course of their destinies. [So Dads and Mums, watch what you say to those little ones!]
Do you realize that the nations of the earth are governed with words? For instance, the laws of a nation which its citizens are expected to obey are essentially words that were put in writing. And that is what dictates how the citizenry will conduct their affairs. Such is the power of words! I strongly believe that a leader’s major strength resides not only in his ability to lead, but also in his ability to speak to the hearts of his followers. That was why people were so awed by the teachings of Jesus. He spoke to their hearts and set them on fire.
Let’s take a look at marriage for a moment. I’m sure you’ve seen a wedding ceremony before [a lot of them I’m sure]. After the couple has exchanged their vows the Minister pronounces them man and wife and then asks the man to perform his first official duty as a husband (please don’t quote me on that!), which is “you may now kiss the bride”. And by the way, I’m really looking forward to that part- I mean the “you may now kiss the bride” part. Oh yeah, I am! Anyway what am I trying to say? It is interesting to note that at the point they exchange words of fidelity, heaven recognizes them as one- and that is even before they’ve signed the marriage register which is the visible proof of their union. And all they did was to speak words to each other.
With words we make and with words we also break. Lots of friendships have been wrecked with words. I’m sure you know a few. A lot of problems which married couples face are as a result of words- be it the wrong words they shouldn’t have said, or the right ones they failed to say; like “I’m sorry”.
I remember a story a friend shared with me. A couple visited another couple and spent some days with them. The visiting wife noticed that the host wife and her husband had never quarreled or shown any signs of tension. That near-perfect harmony seemed too good to be true so out of curiosity she asked the host wife for her secret.
The host wife gave a faint smile and began her story;
“Just a few days after my husband and I got married we went for a walk with our dog; we took a lonely path near the river with lots of bushes on either side of the pathway. As we walked along, our dog ran into the bushes and came out after a while and my husband calmly said “one”. After a while, the dog repeated the same antic and again my husband counted “two”. Shortly after, the dog ran into the bush and came out the third time and he counted “three”, brought out a gun and shot the dog dead. I was so alarmed by such brutality that I screamed at him. “What! Are you crazy? How could you do such a thing, you wicked beast?!”
He said nothing, but calmly counted “one” under his breath.
“Oh, will you shoot me as well?”
“Two…” he said, with a glazed look in his eyes. I had a decision to make; I would either wag my tongue once more and get shot at; or keep my big mouth shut and live. I chose the latter and I’ve never argued with him or spoken harshly to him since then because I know I’m just one count away from a gunshot. And we’ve lived happily since then”.
Of course this story is just fiction. But here’s the point: problems would be considerably reduced or maybe eliminated if people can learn to exercise more control over the words that they speak. James said that a perfect man is one who is never at fault in what he says. Imagine that! For all of us who strive for perfection there’s one place we should start from and that is from the words of our mouth; because if we can say the right things, we can do the right things. So speak the right words to your spouse, your kids, and your siblings; to everyone you come into contact with. And very importantly as well; speak the right words to yourself.
Finally, remember this, “the tongue holds the power of life and death, and those who love it shall eat its fruit”. Prov 18:21. My intense prayer for you is that henceforth, you shall begin to reap the fruits of joy, peace and prosperity from your words!
Peace be with you!
© Chuba Olike
Chuba is a Banker and Management Consultant. He is also a writer and motivational speaker. His passion is to touch the Nations of the earth with the glory of God- starting from Africa
Said a big amen to your prayer.