The power of words.
“I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Matthew 12:36-37 (ESV)
Words are important and have a tremendous effect when they leave our thoughts and enter the world. They can build up or destroy. The tongue has the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). It can bring forth bitter or sweet (James 3:10-11). How are we doing in the use of our words knowing that we are agents of the Gospel? Also, not forgetting that the Church is God’s witness to the world.
Some new words and phrases may have entered our world: Culture Wars, Cancel Culture and Gaslighting. Culture Wars are the fight for dominance and control, not the values of live and let live. Cancel Culture is about exclusion and not hearing the viewpoint of others rather than the forming of healthy and collaborative relationships. Gaslighting is abusive manipulation that makes one question their reality rather than ‘walking a mile in their shoes’. These all stand in opposition to the Gospel because they deny the truth that all are created in the image of God and are to be respected.
Thankfully, we know that the inspiration beyond our words comes from a heavenly place and is inspired by the Holy Spirit. Due to the divine gift our words and deeds are linked, supporting each other in a proclamation of the Gospel. We don’t enter the Culture Wars because our kingdom is not of this world (John 18:36). We don’t cancel others, even when we disagree, because we know that God so loves the world that he gave us His Son (John 3:16). We don’t indulge in gaslighting because we speak the truth with grace and love wanting others to thrive (Ephesians 4:15).
An objective for the UN World Health Organisation is that it ‘pursues excellence; one that is effective, efficient, responsive, objective, transparent and accountable.’1 All the spaces in which ‘we live, breathe and have our being’ (Acts 17:26-28) also make similar statements, but how are they doing? How are we doing? Hopefully, it makes us think before we speak.
May our words be excellent, effectual, efficient, objective and transparent because we are accountable for every word we utter.
1 https://www.un.org/youthenvoy/2013/09/who-world-health-organisation/ viewed 21 July 2021
Loving Father, ‘May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight,’ and bring good to others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Study by David Gibbs
About the writer:
David Gibbs is a Minister in the Birmingham congregation of Grace Communion International, and also serves on the Pastoral Council.
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