Words are powerful. They can either give life or extinguish it.

Some of us are “Words of Affirmation” people. We find ease in delivering a compliment, calming a hot temper, and showing restraint as opposed to spouting off something we’ll later regret.

If you’re one of those people, like me, you have probably found yourself at times mentally patting yourself on the back that this aspect of your walk as a Christian is one you don’t often find yourself struggling with.

It was during a sermon about the power of our words that, in the midst of my secret self-glorification, the Holy Spirit was swift (and so very good) to remind me that the foundation of my pride is fragile and full of cracks. And as far as my words go, they are not always life-giving.

If I don’t agree with someone’s actions, my words sometimes lack grace. In an effort to connect with potential new friends, my words at times have been nothing more than mere gossip. Sometimes I say ugly things behind people’s backs that I would never dream of saying to their face. These are the painful truths that I needed to humbly confess to my merciful Savior, and maybe you do too.

God’s word says in James 4:11-12,

Don’t speak evil against each other, dear brothers and sisters. If you criticize and judge each other, then you are criticizing and judging God’s law. But your job is to obey the law, not to judge whether it applies to you. God alone, who gave the law, is the Judge. He alone has the power to save or to destroy. So what right do you have to judge your neighbor?

So many of us struggle to overcome our inclinations to gossip, criticize, and judge. God not only desires better from us, he commands it.

Let’s humbly confess our shortcomings in this area and ask for the grace and integrity we need to be life-speakers both to and about others.

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